Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said yesterday that the actual number of Americans who’ve been infected with COVID-19 is probably about ten times more than the 2.4 million who have actually been diagnosed with the disease. In a conference call with reporters, Redfield said the estimate of roughly 24 million infections was based on antibody tests, which show whether someone’s immune system has had a response to the virus at any point in the past, as opposed to the diagnostic tests that confirm whether someone is infected at the time the test is given.
Redfield said he believes that so far about 5 to 8 percent of US Americans have been infected. Kudos to the Washington Post for underlining and explaining the implications of that number, since a lot of people don’t seem to be paying attention:
Significantly, that would mean 92 to 95 percent remain susceptible to a coronavirus infection. Experts say this is the critical data point showing that the pandemic remains in its early stages and people need to continue to try to limit the viral spread.
We admire the restraint it must have taken not to add, “For fuck’s SAKE, people!” See? We weren’t about to resist it.
The WaPo piece is full of other servicey information that both informs and persuades, like a note that Redfield’s comments come as the US keeps seeing record levels of newly diagnosed cases, particularly in Trump Country (the paper merely says “the South and West”), and yes, this is all happening “during warm-weather months that many had hoped would provide a lull in the pandemic.” Nicely done, and since we’re in for fuckssake mode, a useful corrective to wishful thinking that the “president” himself promoted in the early days of the outbreak.