On Monday, Los Angeles County health officials along with researchers from the University of Southern California announced the preliminary results from their antibody testing program. The results showed that even though we are seeing a decrease in the number of deaths in the county, the number of people infected with COVID-19 seems to be way higher than perviously thought...
Researchers say that they predict more than 400,000 residents have had the virus at some point, many of them unknowingly with no symptoms. According to USC professor Neeraj Sood of the USC Price School for Public Policy, these antibody test results show that we are "very early in the epidemic."
The County Department of Public Health co-led the study, and county public health director Barbara Ferrer added that these numbers are a sign that social-distancing needs to remain the number one requirement for residents of Los Angeles moving forward.
“These results indicate that many persons may have been unknowingly infected and at risk of transmitting the virus to others,” Ferrer said. “These findings underscore the importance of expanded polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to diagnose those with infection so they can be isolated and quarantined, while also maintaining the broad social distancing interventions.”
As of Monday, there were 13,816 COVID-19 cases confirmed by the antibody testing. Researchers said that they plan to test new groups of residents every few weeks.
“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,” Sood added. “The estimates also suggest that we might have to recalibrate disease prediction models and rethink public health strategies.”
Read the full report on NBC4.