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Reported cases of COVID-19 may have been under-reported by as much as half, according to a new antibody study. The upshot is that the lethality of the virus might be much lower than previous data suggests.
In raw numbers, the study estimated that 16 million more Americans than previously thought probably contracted COVID asymptomatically as of September 2020.
“As of September, the scope of the pandemic was about double the number of reported cases,” study co-author Dr. Robert L. Stout told UPI. “The primary means of transmission of this virus is the asymptomatic population—the patient [who] is unaware of their infectious status and is therefore at risk of unknowing spreading the virus.”
Stout is a researcher at Lenexa Clinical Reference Laboratory, based in Kansas. The company specializes in health testing for life insurance applicants.
The study involved 62,000 people. It found that about 7 percent unknowingly had antibodies against the virus. That means they had cases they weren’t aware of since the infection did not present any symptoms that might have led them to report it or seek treatment. By some estimates, up to 80 percent of people who contract the COVID-19 virus experience little or no symptoms.
In the study, most of those with viral antibodies were in their late 30s or early 40s. Researchers hypothesized that people in that age range might be “unknowingly driving spread of the virus.”
But there are other ramifications the researchers didn’t address. If the COVID counts have been so dramatically underreported, that means the lethality rates currently accepted as “fact” are anything but. Previous to this study, it has been estimated that less than half of 1 percent of people aged 55 to 64 years old who died in 2020 died of COVID. And rates for younger ages were much lower. (Source: The Lenexa antibodies study drives those numbers down even further.

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