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On Thursday, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated its belief that as many as 20 to 25 million Americans have come down with COVID-19, signifying that millions of people could have had it and not even known.
That number, if true, would mean that there have been more than 9-10 times as many infections as the official 2.3 million figure, and that slightly more than six to seven-and-a-half percent of the current population (about 331 million) have had the virus run through their systems.
In a previous statement, the CDC, as well as infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci, said as many as 25 percent of those infected may not have symptoms.
The new estimate was reached after the organization collected blood samples nationwide. The theory for the higher than reported total is that a bunch of early infections likely went unnoticed because testing (which was limited) was saved for those showing symptoms.
The AP points out that this figure comes in a period where a number of states are seeing alarming surges upon rolling back restrictions to try and get life back to normal.
Senior Trump administration officials have stated that they're not trying to downplay the current crisis, but they have pointed to this new figure to argue that the nation isn't currently in the same predicament we saw in mid-April. They further say that the higher numbers can be attributed to an increased testing infrastructure.
In recent weeks a dozen states have seen sharp rises in new cases, and have also reported upticks in the amount of tests coming back positive. In what appears to be a damning metric, the AP reports that seven states are seeing 10 percent (or more) of their tests come back as confirmed cases of COVID.
As states have begun phased reopenings, the Trump administration has said it's up to local officials/state governments to implement a response to spikes.
According to officials, the CDC is also tracing new outbreaks, and making an effort to spread awareness on how to prevent mass spreads via wearing a mask and maintaining proper social distancing.
The AP reports that on a somewhat bright note (stress somewhat) mortality data has seen a steady decline, and that hospitilizations have decreased in most places.
At the moment, the U.S. is running tests on about 500,000 patients daily. Though its not a consensus (as no such consensus figure exists) that's about one-half to one-sixth of the amount several experts believe should be being conducted to properly identify new cases and stop spikes.
Testing is reportedly lower than these experts want due to restricted laboratory tests, and a lack of demand in some areas.
As of last count there have been more than 2.33 million confirmed cases, and 121,000+ deaths, attributed to the virus in the U.S.