The cases are well above the official number according to CDC data. The American president recognized for the first time the gravity of the situation.

In the United States, the epidemic may well be larger than expected. The actual number of people infected with the novel coronavirus was 2 to 13 times the official number of cases in the spring, according to data from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) released on Tuesday, which confirms the pandemic is widely fed by people without symptoms.

The CDC tested blood from blood banks in ten parts of the United States between March and June for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, signs that the person had previously come into contact with the virus, even though they did not. did not get sick. They found that between 1 and 5.8% of the inhabitants of these areas had been infected in this period, with the exception of New York City, where the prevalence reached 23.2% of the population as of May 6. , or one in four New Yorkers.

Compared to the official number of cases on those dates, the actual number of infections was twice as high in Utah, but ten times as high in South Florida at the end of April and up to thirteen times in the state. more rural Missouri in late May. Even in New York, the epicenter of the US epidemic in the spring, there were ten times more people infected than the official number of cases.

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Trump adopts an alarmist tone

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump acknowledged the seriousness of the epidemic as he held his first press conference devoted to what he calls “the China virus” since the end of April. “It will surely, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better. I don’t like to say it but it is like that,” he told the White House, before calling “everyone” to wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.

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The president has for the first time adopted an alarmist tone on the spread of the epidemic in the south and west of the country, going so far as to “implore” young people to “avoid crowded bars”. “As you know, in recent weeks we have seen a worrying increase in cases in many parts of our south,” said Donald Trump.

“We have potentially saved millions of lives with the initial lockdowns, but we are very aware of this disease,” he added. “We will end it with therapeutic treatments and with a vaccine very soon.” “The virus will disappear, it will disappear”, he asserted, affirming that the responsibility for the health situation was shared between himself and the governors of the States.

The virus continues to spread

Serological studies (from a blood test) are carried out in many countries and allow researchers and health authorities to know the progress of the virus in the population, regardless of the availability of screening tests (in the nose or throat) that tell people if they are infected at the time of the test. In the spring in the United States, there was a shortage of testing, which has contributed to underestimating virus circulation and mortality, and experts say the country is still not testing enough.

The conclusion is twofold: on the one hand, hundreds of thousands of Americans have the coronavirus without knowing it and are helping to spread it; on the other hand, with in general around 5% of the infected population, the country was still far from the collective immunity threshold at the end of spring. The next wave of CDC scans is likely to see a surge in infections for Florida and other parts of the country that have been experiencing an outbreak since June.