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The incidence of coronavirus in OC may be 7 times higher than reported



The number of COVID-19 infections in Orange County could be nearly seven times higher than previously thought, according to a new antibody study.

While screening, a joint effort between UC Irvine and the OC Health Agency, shows that the coronavirus may be far more prevalent – albeit less deadly – than official data, the researchers say more work is needed. to understand the level of protection that antibodies provide and how best to deal with differences in how the virus affects different populations.

“Our study shows that while a significant number of OC residents have already been exposed and developed antibodies to COVID-19, much of the county still remains vulnerable to the virus,” said Bernadette Boden-Albala, director of the university’s public program. health, the statement said. “There is a lot more work for researchers.”

From July 10 to August 16, nearly 3,000 county residents were tested for a set of coronavirus antibodies that are produced as part of the body’s natural immune response to a virus.

Of those tested, 11.5% were found to have antibodies to COVID-19.

As of Thursday morning, 59,213 cases had been confirmed across the country during the pandemic.

This figure represents just under 1.9% of the county’s population of nearly 3.2 million. On the other hand, an infection rate of 11.5% would be more than 367,000 cases.

To date, more than 1,400 people have died from COVID-19 in Orange County.

Earlier, health officials and researchers said that the true number of people infected with the coronavirus probably outweighed the confirmed cases, as many people may not have been tested or needed medical attention.

“There was this lurking suspicion that there were a lot of people who had it who didn’t know,” said Tim Bruckner, an associate professor of public health at UCI, in a statement. “Either they had symptoms and did not seek care, or they had no symptoms and no reason to go.”

The latest study also reflects the differences already noted regarding COVID-19 infection. The researchers said that the highest prevalence of antibodies was found among Latin Americans, 17%, and among low-income residents, 15%.

Boden-Albala said the higher prevalence among Latinos “is in line with some data from tests and hospitals received from Orange County and across the country” and that “as we look at the fall and flu season, these data also justify the increased planning and resources in the communities most likely to be most affected. “

Spaniards and Latinos account for about 48% of confirmed coronavirus cases in Orange County for which this demographic information is available and 43% of total deaths – although they make up only 35% of the region’s population, according to the healthcare.

“Equality in health remains paramount, and this study not only confirms the trend, but also helps inform our strategies and policy recommendations to ensure that all our neighbors in Orange County can access access to testing.” information and education, as well as the resources they need to take care of themselves and their families, ”said a statement from Dr. Clayton Chow, county health officer and director of the Health Agency.

While the proportion of Orange County residents with antibodies to COVID-19 is significantly higher than previously calculated, the researchers say the results of the study do not mean that the county is close to herd immunity – a term that refers to the point in which a sufficient population is sufficiently resistant to a disease that is unlikely to spread from person to person.

Researchers say that at least 70% of residents will require antibodies.




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