Facebook Twitter

Many more people had COVID-19 than reported, new study says

Few people in the study had COVID-19. But it was more than reported

SHARE Many more people had COVID-19 than reported, new study says
Shelby Close, a certified medical assistant with University of Utah Health, holds a COVID-19 test kit as she waits for a car to arrive at a testing facility in Park City on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Shelby Close, a certified medical assistant with University of Utah Health, holds a COVID-19 test kit as she waits for a car to arrive at a testing facility in Park City on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The testing facility is part of the David Eccles School of Business and University of Utah Health’s new Utah Health & Economic Recovery Outreach program.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

A new studyhas found that people from 10 different areas around the country had low levels of COVID-19 infections — but those numbers of infected patients were higher than reported.

Utah was one of the areas included in the study.

A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that at least 10 times more people were likely infected with the novel coronavirus than previously reported.

The study — the first muiltistate study in the U.S. — focused on 16,025 people of all ages at 10 U.S. sites from March 23 to May 12. Those sites included California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington state.

Most people at each site didn’t have the coronavirus antibodies.

COVID-19infections were 10 times higher in states like Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Utah and Washington.

The study’s authors say this shows majority of people in these areas had not been infected with COVID-19. But that reported numbers are still lower than previously thought.

“The estimated number of infections, however, was much greater than the number of reported cases in all sites,” they wrote. “The findings may reflect the number of persons who had mild or no illness or who did not seek medical care or undergo testing but who still may have contributed to ongoing virus transmission in the population.”

The study included researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments, per STAT News.

The study showed two important points about the coronavirus pandemic, which STAT News highlighted:

The data underscore two other points: that testing in the U.S. is not capturing the full scope of the outbreak, and that even hard-hit communities are not close to reaching a herd immunity threshold — where enough people are immune from the virus (which scientists expect will happen for some amount of time after an initial infection) to slow down its spread to the point that unprotected people have a natural buffer.