Study: US COVID cases, deaths far higher than reported

 

An estimated 14.3% of the US population had antibodies against COVID-19 by mid-November 2020, suggesting that that the virus has infected vastly more people than reported—but still not enough to come close to the proportion needed for herd immunity, according to a study published today in JAMA Network Open.

In the cross-sectional study, researchers from study sponsors Pfizer and Merck analyzed data from random community seroprevalence surveys and five such regional and national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys to estimate infection underreporting multipliers. Seroprevalence surveys reveal the proportion of a population that has antibodies against a certain disease, such as COVID-19.

After adjusting for underreporting using validated multipliers, the analysis revealed an estimated median 46,910,006 infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; 28,122,752 symptomatic infections; 956,174 hospitalizations; and 304,915 deaths from April to mid-November.

According to those numbers, 14.3% of Americans had been infected with the novel coronavirus by Nov 15, 8.6% had symptomatic infections, with an infection-hospitalization ratio of 2.0% and a case-fatality ratio for people with symptoms of 1.1%.

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