Jun 25, 2020 - Health

CDC says there could be 10 times more U.S. coronavirus cases than reported

CDC headquarters in Atlanta
Photo: Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Image

A more realistic estimate of the total number of U.S. coronavirus cases could be as high as 23 million — 10 times the 2.3 million currently confirmed cases — the CDC said Thursday on a call with reporters.

Why it matters: The estimate comes after the agency tracked blood samples across the country during testing for COVID-19 antibodies. "Our best estimate right now is that for every case that's reported, there actually are 10 other infections," CDC director Robert Redfield said.

The big picture: The new estimate comes as cases have surged across the country, but especially in the South and West.

  • Still, the U.S. has recorded fewer deaths when compared to March and April, which Redfield said could mean older adults are exhibiting more caution.
  • "This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection. The traditional approach of looking for symptomatic illness and diagnosing it obviously underestimates the total amount of infections," Redfield added.
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