New Delhi (NVI): The number of people in the United States who have been infected with the coronavirus is likely to be 10 times as high as the 2.4 million confirmed cases, based on antibody tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
“Our best estimate indicates that at least 24 million Americans have been infected so far,” Robert Redfield, Director of CDC said during a briefing.
The assessment comes from looking at blood samples across the country for the presence of antibodies to the virus.
Redfield referred to proteins in the blood that indicate whether a person’s immune system has previously fought off the coronavirus.
Previously, testing was focused only on those with symptoms. But because so many who become infected with SARS-CoV-2 could either have mild disease or not know they were infected at all, Redfield said, current information on the burden of cases is an underestimate.
While younger people face a lower risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, a high infection rate among young individuals increases the chances of infecting those who are most vulnerable.
The estimation by the CDC comes, amidst rises in cases across the Southeast and Western U.S, particularly among younger adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
Across the United States, 39,327 new coronavirus infections were reported in the last 24 hours— surpassing the previous single-day record of 38,115, according to the data.
Furthermore, Redfield urged Americans to be vigilant about behavior measures known to minimize spread of the coronavirus, particularly as the country heads into the July Fourth holiday.