Evidence is mounting, via antibody tests, that far more people in the U.S. have been infected with the Wuhan virus than has previously been known. The Santa Clara study that Dr. Jay Bhattacharya described here is part of that body of evidence, as is a study released today that covered Los Angeles County:
Based on results of the first round of testing, the research team estimates that approximately 4.1% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus. Adjusting this estimate for statistical margin of error implies about 2.8% to 5.6% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus- which translates to approximately 221,000 to 442,000 adults in the county who have had the infection. That estimate is 28 to 55 times higher than the 7,994 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported to the county by the time of the study in early April.
The number of COVID-related deaths in the county has now surpassed 600.
This is great news because it equates to a fatality rate in a range between .0014 and .0027. Standard seasonal flu viruses typically have a fatality rate around .001. So the evidence increasingly suggests that the Wuhan virus is a little more dangerous than seasonal influenza, but of the same order of magnitude. This would appear to have significant public policy implications.