US officials estimate that 20 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus since it first arrived in the United States, meaning that the vast majority of the population is still vulnerable to infection.
Thursday’s estimate is nearly 10 times the number of infections such as 2.3 million confirmed cases. Officials have known for a long time that millions of people became infected without knowing that and that many cases are being missed due to gaps in the test.
The news comes as the Trump administration works to allay fears nationwide about the COVID-19 pandemic, with about 12 states experiencing alarming increases in cases.
The administration is also looking to bring its science experts back in front of the public even further as it tries to allay concerns about the epidemic as countries begin to reopen it. Since mid-May, when the government began emphasizing the need to move the economy back, the commission’s public health experts have been much less prominent than in the first weeks of the epidemic.
Twenty million infections mean that about 6% of the country’s 331 million people have been infected.
“It is clear that many people in this nation are still vulnerable,” said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in contact with reporters on Thursday. “Our best estimate now is that in every reported case, there are already 10 more injuries.”
Previously, officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the country’s chief infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fossey, said that up to 25% of people with symptoms may have no symptoms.
“There are a tremendous number of people who are still vulnerable,” said Dr. Joshua Schrafstein, deputy dean of the Johns Hopkins College of Bloomberg Public Health.
Still a fatal disease. It is throwing dice for everyone who gets sick. Also, you are pushing the dice to other people you might give the virus to. “
The new estimate is based on CDC studies of blood samples collected nationwide – some by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others from blood donation and other sources. Many injuries were not discovered in early tests, when supplies were limited and federal officials prioritized testing for those with symptoms.