New research shows that the number of New York City residents who have been infected with coronavirus could be six times greater than the official number.
Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai tested more than 10,000 blood samples for antibodies against COVID-19, a disease caused by a virus.
They found that about 22% of the samples had antibodies, meaning that about 1.7 million people in the city were previously infected.
That’s a six-fold increase from the 256,881 confirmed infections by health officials.
In addition, the team found that some patients had antibodies in late February, days before the first confirmed case of New York City in March, which suggests that the coronavirus was early circulating. much more than previously thought.
The researchers examined coronavirus antibody levels in more than 10,600 blood samples from patients treated at Mount Sinai in New York City. In photo: A paramedic pushes a stretcher outside Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York, March 26
Antibodies were detected in 22% of the sample, showing that at least 1.7 million New Yorkers were infected – six times the official figure – with a high incidence of 56.7% in those diseases. emergency care personnel (above)
Patients in routine care, who are receiving obstetrics and gynecology care or heart care, see a prevalence rate of antibodies as high as 22.2% (above).
Corresponding author, Dr Florian Krammer, an immunization professor at Icahn School of Medicine, told DailyMail.com: “We saw this virus in January and so one idea was to track it down. by the time.
‘The real motivation is to find out how many people will be infected.’
For the study published in Nature, the team analyzed more 10,600 plasma samples from Mount Sinai Health System patients were tested between 9 February and 5 July.
The samples were divided into two groups. The first group of about 4,100 samples were taken from patients examined in the emergency department or admitted to the hospital.
This ‘urgent care’ group is the one that represents the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the population.
The second group, about 6,500 samples, was dubbed the ‘routine care group’, who visited for reasons including obstetrics and gynecology, cancer care and heart care.
The samples may be more similar to the general population, the researchers said, as the purpose of these scheduled visits was not viral.
They looked at the presence of coronavirus antibodies, also known as the serum ratio, as well as the level, or titer, of antibodies an individual has.
In the urgent care group, antibody prevalence rates ranged from as low as 1.4 percent to as high as 56.7 percent, with the highest rates seen between late March and late May.
In the routine care group, incidence rates ranged from 0.9% to 22.2%, with high rates reported between June and July.
The earliest detection of the antibody was on February 23, which is about a week before the first case was confirmed in New York City (above).
Overall, about 22% of the samples tested positive for antibodies, suggesting that at least 1.7 million New Yorkers so far have been infected with SARS-CoV-2.
“Many of them have no symptoms, many of them have mild symptoms and those people have never been tested,” Krammer said.
‘And that is normal since there were very few tests at first so we can easily see’ how many people have been infected. ”
Furthermore, antibodies were detected in the earliest samples on February 23, seven days before the first confirmed case on March 1.
Between May and July, both rates and levels remained stable, which indicates antibody levels in the population.
Additionally, based on the number of confirmed deaths, now at 19,355, the team calculated the death rate from infection to be one percent – about ten times higher than the death rate of the disease. flu, which is 0.1 percent.
“That’s really high,” said Krammer.
‘So, in a way, it’s surprising but well worth the wait because we have been hit quite hard and the healthcare system in New York is overwhelmed.