May 3, 2022 - COVID

You've likely already had COVID, new data shows

Data: Center for Disease Control; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

Nearly two-thirds of Ohioans have likely had COVID-19, newly released public health data shows.

Why it matters: An estimated 63% of Ohioans were infected with the virus between the start of the pandemic and February 2022, according to a recent CDC analysis of antibodies in blood samples.

  • That's upwards of 7.3 million people — nearly three times greater than the state's official reported count.
  • Millions are believed to have been infected during the Omicron variant spike between December and February, many of whom may have been asymptomatic and unaware.

Of note: The analyzed blood samples do not include people with antibodies due to vaccination.

  • Studies suggest that natural immunity to COVID wanes over time, which could impact findings.

Zoom in: Younger Ohioans are vastly more likely to have antibodies than adults — 84% of kids age 17 and under have them compared to 39% of people 65 and older.

The big picture: Our state's estimated infection total is higher than the national average of 58%.

State of play: COVID infections and hospitalizations are creeping up again due to a subvariant of Omicron, though they're still just a sliver of the wintertime peak.

The bottom line: The virus still isn't going anywhere, but like the flu and other pandemics, we're closer to learning how to live with it than the official numbers might suggest.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: Wondering if you have antibodies? Quell your curiosity and donate blood to the Red Cross, which resumed antibody testing this spring and will send you a report.

  • Blood donations with lots of antibodies may be turned into a plasma donation to support immunodeficient patients. Last month, I learned I had enough antibodies to help!
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