Epidemiologists say that the exact number of infections is probably much higher than official heights. Even after much more extensive testing now than in the initial months of the epidemic, he says, many people who have never experienced symptoms have not been tested or counted.
Ira Longini, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, estimates that about 20 percent of Americans have the virus – more than double what was reported. The statistical modeling that he has recently completed for Florida suggests that a third of the state’s population has been infected at some point.
It will be a coordinated nationwide He said there is a solid understanding of how to move beyond modeling estimates and how many people actually have the virus. The CDC conducts some serology tests, he said, but not enough to provide a complete picture.
Dr. “The bottom line is, we don’t know, but we can infer from modeling,” Longini said.
The ratio can vary widely from place to place. In Dewey County, SD, nearly one in four residents have tested positive, but in San Juan County, Wash., Only one in 200.
Many of the US metropolitan areas with the most reported cases relative to their populations are in the South or Southwest, where the virus is spreading rapidly, but some are in areas such as the Great Plains that were poor in the fall. The top five are Yuma, Eris. Gallup, NM; Bismarck, ND; And Lubbock and Eagle Pass, Texas.
Metro areas with the greatest number of cases per capita in the past two weeks reflect the same trend, and also underscore the divergence of outbreaks in California. Those areas are Laredo and Eagle Pass, Texas; Inland Empire, California ;; Jefferson, Ga .; And Oxnard, California.
More than a million people have tested positive in Los Angeles County in one of the country’s hot spots in the past month. And George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biology at the University of California at San Francisco, estimated that the exact number of infections is twice that figure, or one in every five Angelosos.
“It’s not enough to herd immunity, but it’s enough to blunt the curve,” he said.