INDIANAPOLIS – Preliminary results from a scientific study aimed at measuring the spread of the new corona virus in Indiana show a general population prevalence of around 2.8 percent of the state population.
“What we know through conventional detection methods – testing symptomatic people and people at high risk for COVID-19 – is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Nir Menachemi, the foremost scientist in this study and a professor and Chair who was awarded the Fairbanks at the University Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. “Now we are trying to find out how big an iceberg really is.”
Paul Halverson, dean of the founder of the Fairbanks School of Public Health, said further testing would answer this question and help combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Ideally, we will test every Hoosier,” Halverson said. “But the next best thing is random sample testing, a scientific approach that allows us to judge with confidence how COVID-19 spreads in Indiana without having to test everyone.”
As part of the first phase of research, collaboration between Indiana State Department of Health and Fairbanks School, the researchers tested more than 4,600 hoosiers between April 25 and May 1 for viral infection and the SARS-CoV-2 antibody, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This number includes more than 3,600 randomly selected people and 900 additional volunteers recruited through outreach to African American and Hispanic communities to better represent the country’s demographics.
After analyzing the results of this test, IUPUI public health researchers determined that during the last week of April, 1.7 percent of participants tested positive for a novel corona virus and an additional 1.1 percent tested positive for antibodies – bringing estimates of the prevalence of virus populations in declaring to be 2.8 percent, or around 186,000 Hoosiers who were actively or previously infected on May 1, Menachemi said.
On the same date, state testing showed that around 17,000 cumulative cases – not including death – showed that only about one in every 11 true infections was identified by tests that focused on people who were symptomatic or at high risk.
Break down important findings
Having a reliable estimate of the number of infected people also allows scientists to calculate numbers that are sought, but unknown, such as the infection-fatality rate, which represents the proportion of all infected people who have died, in contrast to the case fatality rate, which is partly The big focus is on symptomatic and high-risk cases, Menachemi said.
IUPUI scientists estimate the fatality rate of infections for the novel corona virus in Indiana to be 0.58 percent, making it almost six times more deadly than seasonal flu, which has an infection fatality rate of 0.1, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. Prevention.
Menachemi said the research team found that about 45 percent of people who tested positive for active virus reported no symptoms at all.
Scientists also identified certain communities that were more affected by COVID-19 than others. Analysis of random samples shows that Hispanics, African Americans and other races, including those who identify as biracial, have a higher positive rate for the virus.
“This is confirmed by data from targeted outreach that allows us to get additional participants from these communities, further strengthening the evidence to support this difference,” Menachemi said.
In addition, this study found several differences across states 10 District Public Health Preparedness. District 9 on the southeast side of the country, which experienced an initial facility-based outbreak, was observed to have the highest prevalence of the virus in the general population. Prevalence in districts 1, 5 and 10 is also slightly higher than in other districts.
“We are very grateful for this work. This is an important snapshot of what is happening in our country, and future testing phases will improve our knowledge,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “These initial results will help guide us in our efforts to make decisions about how we move forward in Indiana and better position resources.”
Menachemi said preliminary results seemed to indicate that the country’s physical distance policy – also known as social distance – had played a role in curbing the spread of the virus.
Study participants who reported living with someone in their household who tested positive for the virus were 12 times more likely to test positive themselves. Coupled with the relatively low prevalence of the general study population 2.8 percent, this seems to imply that Indiana has been able to contain a large number of infections in the household, he said.
“By slowing the spread of the virus, we have now bought time to determine the best way forward,” Menachemi said. “However, it is important to emphasize that most people in Indiana have not been infected and represent a minimum pool of vulnerable individuals. Therefore, as we slowly phase back and open the economy, we need to be extra vigilant with any and all security measures so we don’t lose the foundation we get by crouching. “
The next testing phase is planned for early June, October and April 2021.
Re-elected community members will be asked to participate, by invitation only, to ensure that sampling represents the population.
COVID-19 resource for journalists
Looking for more Indiana University expertise related to novel coronavirus? Find out the latest list of scientists, researchers and IU doctors available to discuss various topics, such as the impact of COVID-19 on our physical and mental health, economics, politics, globalization, and more. This resource was updated because we identified more experts to share with the media, so please check often.
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