may have infected 10 times more Americans than reported,
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[June 26, 2020]
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Government experts
believe more than 20 million Americans could have contracted the
coronavirus, 10 times more than official counts, indicating many people
without symptoms have or have had the disease, senior administration
The estimate, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
is based on serology testing used to determine the presence of
antibodies that show whether an individual has had the disease, the
The officials, speaking to a small group of reporters on Wednesday
night, said the estimate was based on the number of known cases,
between 2.3 million and 2.4 million, multiplied by the average rate
of antibodies seen from the serology tests, about an average of 10
"If you multiply the cases by that ratio, that's where you get that
20 million figure," said one official.
If true, the estimate would suggest the percentage of U.S. deaths
from the disease is lower than thought. More than 120,000 Americans
have died from the disease since the pandemic erupted earlier this
The estimate comes as government officials note that many new cases
are showing up in young people who do not exhibit symptoms and may
not know they have it.
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Officials said young people with no symptoms, but who are in regular contact
with vulnerable populations, should proactively get tested to make sure they do
not spread it.
"We have heard from Florida and Texas that roughly half of the new cases that
are reporting are people under the age of 35, and many of them are
asymptomatic," one official said.
The CDC has sent 40 response teams to help deal with the outbreaks, they said.
More than 36,000 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded nationwide on Wednesday,
just shy of the record 36,426 on April 24, concentrated on states that were
spared the brunt of the initial outbreak or moved early to lift restrictions
aimed at curbing the virus' spread.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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