US hits more than 100M COVID-19 cases. Experts say this is likely an undercount

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The USA has formally recorded greater than 100 million COVID-19 instances.

Based on information from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention up to date late Thursday, the U.S. hit the milestone as of Dec. 21.

This makes America the primary nation to report complete instances within the nine-figure vary, information from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Useful resource Heart exhibits.

Dr. John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Kids’s Hospital and an ABC Information contributor, stated that whereas the 100 million mark is momentous, it is also a extreme undercount.

“Clearly it is a milestone that signifies the sheer quantity of transmission that has occurred round this virus and the inhabitants burden that we have now confronted,” he stated. “On the similar time, we acknowledge that reported instances are completely a large undercount — at the start of the pandemic the place testing was nonexistent to the shift to residence testing the place a big proportion of instances has gone unreported.”

There are probably a number of causes for underreported instances together with folks testing at residence and never relaying their outcomes to public well being officers, not understanding the place to get examined or folks selecting to not take a look at in any respect.

Weekly COVID-19 Instances in the USA

ABC Information, CDC

“I feel we all know that a big majority of the inhabitants has already been contaminated with COVID,” Brownstein stated. “And so, this quantity solely represents a fraction of all of the instances. [The milestone] was very probably hit many months in the past.”

In reality, between February 2020 and September 2021, the CDC estimates that just one in 4 COVID-19 infections have been reported and there have been probably about 146 million infections that occurred throughout this time.

Brownstein stated he believes there are alternatives to gather residence testing outcomes as surveillance information to report the true burden of instances extra precisely.

For instance, the Nationwide Institutes of Well being launched an internet site in late November by which individuals can anonymously report the outcomes of their at-home COVID-19 exams, no matter which model they use.

“It is difficult as a result of it is counting on people to place in that information, however you could possibly additionally do nationally consultant sampling,” he stated. “We have truly completed this as a part of our work to know the relative proportion of individuals testing constructive by way of residence exams versus lab exams and for those who can provide you with an estimate of how persons are behaving, you may modify the official numbers.”

“So, I feel there’s some degree of alternatives round crowdsourcing and alternatives round surveying the inhabitants to attempt to seize that,” Brownstein continued.

Brownstein stated there may be probably a surge that occurred after Thanksgiving that we do not know the true burden of but, with a surge prone to happen after Christmas and New Yr’s.

Subsequently, he harassed the significance of constructing positive People are updated on their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters in addition to their flu pictures earlier than gathering.

“There’s completely nonetheless time to go and get vaccinated as we head into the deeper winter months, each for COVID and flu,” he stated. “And other people simply have to train warning. We all know what we have to do. We all know the pandemic playbook by coronary heart at this level, so it is nearly executing it.”

ABC Information’ Youri Benadjaoud contributed to this report.

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