Early study points to far more infections in LA

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 21, 2020 - Duration: 02:17s

Early study points to far more infections in LA

Some 4.1% of adults tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in a study of Los Angeles County residents, health officials said on Monday, suggesting the rate of infection may be 40 times higher than the number of confirmed cases.

Libby Hogan reports.

Early study points to far more infections in LA

A new study of coronavirus antibodies in Los Angeles points to the rate of infection there possibly being 40 times HIGHER than the number of confirmed cases.

That's according to early results published Monday (April 20) from the University of Southern California and led by Professor Neeraj Sood: (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEERAJ SOOD, A PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY AT USC, SAYING: "What the findings show is that only 4 percent of our population has been infected, which means we are very early in the epidemic and many more people in L.A.

County could potentially be infected.

And as those number of infections rise, so do the number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations and the number of ICU admissions." Tests were given to more than 800 people in Los Angeles County and one alarming finding was that the virus may be spread more widely by people who show no symptoms. Professor Sood says these results warrant a call for a new approach to tackling the virus.

He also calls for monitoring the epidemic through serology tests those are blood tests that look for the presence of antibodies.

Antibodies don't develop early on, so these don't test for early stage of Covid-19.

They also show whether a person has had the virus in the past, even if the person didn't show symptoms, whereas the swab tests at drive through stations determine whether a person has the virus at that moment.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEERAJ SOOD, A PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY AT USC, SAYING: "We need to take the data we are getting and update and recalibrate our models of what would happen in the future as more people get infected and then ultimately use these better models, the more accurate data to guide public policy decisions." However one positive finding in the report, suggests the death rate from Covid-19 could be lower than previously thought.

Monday's results have not yet been peer reviewed by other scientists.

Researchers plan to further test new groups in the area to track the pandemic's local impact.

The report was released while antibody tests come under increasing scrutiny over a high number of false positives reported in the kits.

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