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CDC Antibody Study: Number Infected by COVID-19 in State 6 Times Higher Than Reported

July 01, 2020

Only New York showed more COVID-19 infections than Connecticut through early May, according to a report that also revealed the number of people infected by the virus is actually about six times more than the number reported by the state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied antibody testing results in five states. In Connecticut, testing indicates that nearly 5 percent of the population — approximately 167,000 people – have antibodies to the virus, an indication that they were infected at some point and might now have some level of immunity. New York’s rate of infection is nearly 7 percent.

The agency worked with commercial laboratories to examine random blood specimens, including those from people undergoing routine or sick-visit bloodwork unrelated to the pandemic. The goal is to test 1,800 samples every month to determine the percentage of people with COVID-19 antibodies and how the numbers change over time. The survey – which includes Florida, Missouri and Washington — will be expanded to check numbers in California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Utah.

Antibody testing pinpoints infection in people who are asymptomatic and can spread the disease without knowing they have it. CDC officials believe national infection levels are as much as 10 times higher than those revealed through testing.

At Hartford HealthCare (HHC), the focus on antibody testing is keen. A research study is examining antibody testing of participating HHC employees, as clinicians work to determine what sort of immunity, if any, the antibodies convey to carriers.

Dr. Faiqa Cheema, an HHC infectious disease specialist, said that most people who get infected with COVID-19 will have an immune response. Some responses will be better than others.

“It can be assumed safely that this immune response will offer some level of protection, at least for this year,” she said. “At this time, we do not know how long this immunity will last.”

Antibody tests are available at Hartford HealthCare GoHealth Urgent Care centers at no cost to most people. For more information, click here.

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Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor. Find out more about COVID-19 antibody tests here.

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