A poll conducted last week by WebMD found that 1 in 10 Americans believe they have been infected with COVID-19 over the last 30 days, although few of them have had access to testing in order to confirm their suspicions.
Only about seven percent of those who thought they had the novel coronavirus were actually tested for it. Out of those, two-thirds tested positive for the virus.
The poll, which was conducted on April 20 and 21, had 6,300 respondents.
WebMD says that of those individuals who said they were not tested, 39 percent explained they did not meet the testing criteria, while 28 percent said they did not think they needed a test, and 25 percent added that testing was not yet available in their area. Another 16 percent stated they were concerned about seeking treatment.
In addition, new data collected in our region suggests that more than 100,000 people in Miami-Dade County may be infected with the virus.
That information comes from the Surveillance Program Assessing Risk and Knowledge of Coronavirus, also known as SPARK-C. It is a public-private partnership designed to determine the actual rate of COVID-19 exposure in the community.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and researchers from the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine held a virtual news conference on Friday to discuss the data.
Gimenez said, “Using statistical methods, we are 95 percent certain the true amount of infection lies between 4.4 percent and 7.9 percent of the population.”
— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) April 24, 2020
That means that between 123,000 to 221,000 residents potentially have been infected by the virus, confirming the SPARK-C study.
Researchers explained during the news conference that the numbers provided are based on the participation of 1,400 people over two weeks.
Mayor Gimenez added that six percent of the participants tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Out of those who tested positive for the antibodies, more than half did not have symptoms. Follow-up testing will be conducted on those who have antibodies.
“That’s exactly why we are going to have security measures and enforcement measures in place before we open,” he explained.
The random sampling in the study also found that African-Americans seem to be twice as likely to get the virus.
Recent numbers show that the curve is flattening in Miami-Dade County, although Gimenez warns residents against disobeying social distancing orders.
Gimenez says the county has hired 400 people to help with enforcement.
“We want to get back to normal, but we can only do so if people respect social distancing and follow the rules,” he adds.
The mayor plans to continue the community-wide surveillance program.
“It’s the new normal. We won’t get back to the old, old normal until, I believe, either we have vast testing or we have a vaccine,” Gimenez explains.
As of Sunday morning, there were 11,351 confirmed cases and 301 deaths in Miami-Dade County, the most cases and deaths in the state.