US coronavirus: millions of people may have been infected in the past

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At least 37,077 cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, surpassing a one-day high on April 24, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The sudden increase in confirmed cases in recent days is not a surprise, said a health expert.

“Every epidemiologist said, shouting as loud as possible that three weeks after Memorial Day, we would have a spike in cases and five weeks after Memorial Day, we would start to see a spike in deaths, hospitalizations and deaths”, Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant said Thursday evening on CNN to Don Lemon.

“If you let everyone go out without a mask and without social distancing in the middle of a pandemic, this is what was expected. “

And while more than 2.4 million cases have been diagnosed across the country since the start of the pandemic, the number of people infected should be 10 times higher. Antibody tests show that more than 20 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, most of them unknowingly, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Antibody tests examine a person’s blood for signs of the immune system responding to an infection. Federal authorities have conducted such tests nationwide to determine how many people have undiagnosed infections.

“A good rough estimate is now 10 to 1,” said Redfield.

Between 5% and 8% of Americans have been infected with a coronavirus, but the numbers vary by region. New York, once the epicenter of the pandemic, will have a higher percentage of people with past infections than some western states, said Redfield

This means that 90% or more have not been infected and are susceptible to the virus, which highlights the need to act aggressively to combat rising infection rates.

Some of the cases went unnoticed in part because the tests were initially limited to the very sick, said Redfield. As more and more people are tested, it is clear that a high percentage had only mild symptoms or none at all.

States postpone reopening plans

The coronavirus has killed more than 124,000 people in the United States and confirmed cases are increasing in most of the country.

At least 30 states report an increase in new cases of coronavirus this week compared to the previous week. And 13 of them report an increase of 50% or more.

“It is growing and growing rapidly across all age groups and demographics,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday. “Anyone can get this virus and anyone can spread this virus. ”

Arizona health officials reported more than 3,000 new cases last week, a rate that could soon overwhelm intensive care hospitals, said the governor. “We think our numbers will get worse next week and the week after,” said Ducey.

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has suspended all other phases of its reopening as the state registered nearly 6,000 Covid-19 cases on Thursday. “It’s pretty terrible,” said Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine.

Abbott’s movements come as his state, California and Florida – the three most populous – set records for new cases of coronavirus.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also said his state would not budge to ease the current restrictions. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico also said the state was suspending new plans for economic reopening.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a budget emergency to free up $ 16 billion to fight the pandemic. State hospitals have seen a 32% increase in coronavirus patients in the past two weeks, he said.

At the start of the pandemic, health experts did not focus on young people because priority was given to the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

As the number increases, some states are warning that the virus affects a wider range of people. More young people who test positive are a “smoldering fire” that will hit vulnerable populations, said Erin Bromage, CNN medical analyst and professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

The list of the most vulnerable is updated

Federal health officials have updated the list of people most at risk for serious complications from the coronavirus.

The CDC has added mild obesity to a list that includes the elderly, people with lung or kidney disease, and those with diabetes. People with moderate to severe asthma may also be at higher risk, as are pregnant women, according to the CDC. People with cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are all at higher risk, said CDC’s Dr. Jay Butler.

Other conditions such as sickle cell anemia and poorly controlled HIV infection also increase the risk. People who have had a bone marrow transplant or organ transplant or are taking immunosuppressive drugs are also at higher risk, according to the CDC.

The CDC also removed the specific age threshold, saying it is not just people over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for serious illness.

CNN’s Jay Croft, Maggie Fox, Jen Christensen, Jennifer Henderson and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.

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