California study on antibodies signals COVID-19 infections could be more prevalent than first believed

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The results of a study out of Stanford University in California suggest that coronavirus infection rates are significantly higher than they’re being reported, meaning, in turn, the deadly virus’s death rate is likely far closer to the flu death rate than expected.

“The preliminary study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University, estimates that between 2.5% and 4.2% of Santa Clara County residents had antibodies to the new coronavirus in their blood by early April. Antibodies are an indication that a person’s immune system has responded to a past infection,” the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

Though the county had reported roughly 1,000 cases in early April, the Stanford researchers estimate the actual number was between 48,000 and 81,000, or 50 to 85 times greater.”

According to data released by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department on Friday, the county boasted 1870 total cases and 73 total deaths, meaning a death rate of 3.9 percent. Dividing this rate by 50 and 85 leads to rates of only .07 percent and .04 percent, respectively, versus the average 0.1 percent rate for the flu.

Stanford’s study reportedly involved sampling the blood of 3,300 county residents and “testing it for coronavirus antibodies.” The presence of coronavirus-specific antibodies reportedly proves that a person has had the virus for at least a week, if not longer, regardless of a lack of symptoms.

“A sero-survey gives you a snapshot in time of who is infected in your given population,” Kanta Subbarao, a virologist at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, said to Nature magazine.

“This is especially important for an infection such as SARS-CoV-2, for which some people show no symptoms, or only mild ones, she says.”

Investigators from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the University of Southern California have reportedly launched a similar study, and according to top LA County public health official Barbara Ferrer, they’re expecting equivalent results.

“[T]hey’re going to tell a similar story. And I think the story is … many more people have been infected with COVID-19 than those who are being captured through our testing,” she said to the Times.

The conventional tests that have been used to determine infection/death rates involve testing directly for the virus itself. This tactic is only marginally accurate because of slow, limited coronavirus testing.

“The discrepancy, Ferrer said, owed to the slow start for coronavirus diagnostic testing and the fact that many people with few or no symptoms were unable to get tested,” the Times reported.

Moreover, those with few or no symptoms have in fact been asked by the president’s key coronavirus adviser, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, to not seek testing, lest they use up resources that would be better applied to those with far more serious cases.

“Not everybody in the United States should take a test,” he last month on CNN. “I mean I have no symptoms, there’s no reason for me to take a test. If I’m in a situation where I’m at a higher risk, I will take a test.”


The publication of Stanford’s study came a day after Stanford University professor of medicine Dr. Jay Bhattacharya told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that he suspects the mortality rates being touted by the World Health Organization are bunk.

“The World Health Organization put an estimate out that was, I think, initially 3.4 percent. It’s very unlikely it is anywhere near that. It’s much likely, much closer to the death rate that you see from the flu per case,” he said.

“The problem, of course, is that we don’t have a vaccine,” Bhattacharya continued.

“So in that sense, it’s more deadly and more widespread than the flu, and it overwhelms hospital systems, in ways the flu doesn’t,” he said, adding that “per case, I don’t think it’s as deadly as people thought.”

Fair point.

Listen via FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight“:

(Source: Fox News)

The release of Stanford’s findings also comes amid the release of matching findings from abroad, including Italy.

Data collected by researchers from the University of Milan and published earlier this month suggests that Italy’s real death rate is as low as 0.3, 0.1 or even 0.07 percent.

“[T]he real number of COVID-19 cases in the country could be 5,000,000 … according to a study which polled people with symptoms who have not been tested, and up to 10,000,000 or even 20,000,000 after taking into account asymptomatic cases,” Worldometer reported on April 3rd, citing an article from the Italian newspaper la Repubblica.

The reported death rate at the time, as estimated by the number of Italians who’d tested positive for the virus versus the number who’d died (15,362), was 1.23 percent.

These findings, both from Stanford and Italy, also match the testimony of Harvard Medical School instructor Dr. Jeremy Faust.


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