Epidemiologists say the actual number of infections may be much higher than official data. Even though testing is more common today than in the early months of an epidemic, he says, many people who have never had symptoms before cannot test or investigate.
Ira Longini, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, estimates that about 20% of Americans contract the virus – more than double the reported number. Recently completed statistical modeling for Florida indicates that a third of the state’s population has been infected at some point, four times the reported share.
National coordination will be required He said the study was beyond modeling estimates and had a solid understanding of the number of people infected with the virus. He said that the CDC is conducting some serological tests, but they are not sufficient to provide a complete picture.
“Ultimately, we don’t know, but we can speculate through fashion shows,” Dr. Longini said.
The ratio may vary from place to place. In Dewey County, SD, one in four people have tested positive, but in San Juan County, Washington, only one in 200 have.
Most American metropolitan areas with the most reported cases relative to their residents are in the south or southwest, where the virus has recently spread rapidly, but there are some areas such as the Grand Plains that were worse in the fall. The top five are Yuma, Arizona; Gallup, New Mexico; Bismarck, ND; Lubbock and Eagle Pass, Texas.
Metropolitan areas with the most new cases per capita in the past two weeks show the same trend and also underline the pace of outbreaks in California. These areas are Laredo and Eagle Pass, Texas; Inland Empire, California; Jefferson, J. & Exnard, California.
More than a million people have been known to test positive for the virus in Los Angeles County in recent months. George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology and biology at the University of California at San Francisco, estimated that the actual number of infections is two or higher in two Angelinos.
“It’s not enough to herd immunity, but it’s enough to smooth the curve,” he said.