Though the number of people who have undergone COVID-19 testing in Los Angeles is limited, more people infected with the coronavirus strain have been discovered. A study from the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health found that about 4.1 percent of the region’s population have antibodies of the virus in their blood.
This means that based on the population in Los Angeles County, between 221,000 to 442,000 adults have previously been infected, Fox News reported. With these alarming numbers, the need to recalibrate disease prediction models and public health strategies will be needed.
“We haven’t known the true extent of COVID-19 infections in our community because we have only tested people with symptoms, and the availability of tests has been limited,” Neeraj Sood, professor of public policy at the USC Price School for Public Policy, said. “The estimates also suggest that we might have to recalibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies.”
Antibody testing was done on about 863 individuals from L.A. County. The estimated infection numbers are 28 to 55 times higher than the originally confirmed COVID-19 cases that were at 7,994 done in early April. Most unaware that they already have the virus now pose risks at transmitting the virus onto other people.
However, the high number of infected people also suggests that the fatality rate from folks who contract the virus is lower than initially thought. So far, at least 615 people have died due to the coronavirus as confirmed by county officials, the Los Angeles Times reported. Regardless, researchers will repeat the study every few weeks over the next months to properly keep track of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“Though the results indicate a lower risk of death among those with infection than was previously thought, the number of COVID-related deaths each day continues to mount, highlighting the need for continued vigorous prevention and control efforts,” Paul Simon, a chief science officer from the L.A. County Department of Public Health said. He is also the co-lead on the study.
Also, County Supervisor Hilda Solis gave her take on calls to loosen up restrictions, particularly on the reopening of businesses. She revealed that they will be working closely with state officials to deliberate on this matter but warned it may be foolish to solely rely on data and science.
“Now is the time for us to continue staying at home,” she said via Patch.com. “This order remains in place to protect you.”