Fact Check: 10 Percent Of The U.S. Population Has Had Covid

Fact Check: 10 Percent Of The U.S. Population Has Had Covid

had covid

Test kits sit on a table as healthcare professional Kenzie Anderson prepares to take a sample at a United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 testing site Friday, June 26, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

As of July 29, 2021, 49.4 percent of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s July 30 interpretive summary.

The U.S. has reported 628,772 covid deaths and 35,641,257 covid cases. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that more than 10 percent (10.7 percent) of the U.S. population of 333 million+ has had a positive covid test result.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several state health departments have been reporting covid-19 diagnostic tests and antibody tests as one grand tally, rather than keeping their results separate, The Atlantic reported

Reporting these numbers in a lump sum, rather than two distinct data points, presents several major issues, according to LiveScience.

“Reporting all the positive results together, as one number, could skew our understanding of how many new covid-19 cases emerge over time — a crucial metric to help control outbreaks,” Nicoletta Lanese wrote for LiveScience.

Antibody tests can’t diagnose an active covid-19 infection, rather they show evidence of past infections or they can also show immunity.

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The U.S. is closer than ever to containing the coronavirus through a combination of natural infection and vaccination. In April, when 3 million people a day were getting vaccinated, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported that the U.S. could reach herd immunity by the summer.

Herd immunity happens when enough of a population achieves immunity through prior infection or vaccination so that the disease cannot spread from person to person. The percentage of the population that must have immunity depends on how contagious the disease is. Measles is so contagious that 95 percent of the population must be immunized to eliminate it, according to the World Health Organization

The herd-immunity-by-the-summer prediction got waylaid by the delta variant. Case numbers have skyrocketed and the vaccination rate plunged.

No one knows what level of immunity will stop covid from spreading. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this year that he thinks that 70-to-85 percent of the population might have to have immunity. The delta variant may have pushed that number way up.