Stanford study suggests coronavirus is more widespread than realized


If SARS-Cov-2 is already endemic in the population, there is nothing we can do to stop it — but no great reason to try to stop it, either.

Another day, and yet more evidence has appeared that could indicate the number of people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, might be vastly higher than official figures suggest. This time a Californian study suggests the figure in one county could be more than 50 times the number who knew they had had the virus.

A team from Stanford University and other colleges recruited volunteers in Santa Clara County via Facebook adverts and produced a sample of 3,000 representatives of the county as a whole. They were then invited for blood tests to detect the presence of antibodies to the virus. The result was positive in 1.5 percent of cases. Adjusting for age, gender and ethnicity the results suggest that 2.8 percent of people in the county had already had the virus. That might not seem many, but at the time of the study — on April 4 and 5 — only 1,094 people in the county were recorded as having the virus. The study suggests the real figure is between 48,000 and 81,000.

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