The number of Americans infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus is anywhere from two times higher than the reported rate to 13 times higher, depending on the area of the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. The report is based on an analysis of antibody tests, which indicate whether a person has been infected, and it's the largest of its kind so far. The U.S. has 3.9 million reported COVID-19 cases and 142,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
About 40 percent of people infected with the new virus never develop symptoms, and they can spread the disease throughout a community without even knowing it. Increased testing would catch some of these silent spreaders and help contain the disease, The New York Times says.
Researchers have also narrowed down their calculation of how deadly COVID-19 is, estimating now that between 5 and 10 people of every 1,000 infected with the coronavirus will die from it, The Wall Street Journal reports. That fatality rate, between 0.5 and 1.0 percent, makes COVID-19 much deadlier than the seasonal flu and less dangerous than Ebola and other recently discovered infectious diseases.
"It's not just what the infection-fatality rate is, it's also how contagious the disease is, and COVID is very contagious," Eric Toner, an emergency medicine physician and senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells the Journal. "It's the combination of the fatality rate and the infectiousness that makes this such a dangerous disease."
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