A new survey of blood donations conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that more than 80 percent of Americans aged sixteen and older have some level of immunity against the coronavirus.
The data further revealed that most of the immunity has come from vaccinations and that about twice as many people have been infected with the contagion than what the official tally states. Since the since the pandemic began in early 2020, nearly forty million Americans have been infected with coronavirus.
In settling on their findings, the CDC team worked with seventeen blood collection organizations operating in all fifty states, in addition to Washington DC and Puerto Rico. In all, the researchers said that they tested about 1.4 million samples.
In July 2020, when there were no vaccines available, 3.5 percent of samples carried antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. That percentage, however, climbed to 11.5 percent by December, and by May, more than 83 percent of samples possessed antibodies, mostly via inoculations.
The team contended that better understanding who indeed has antibodies can help direct public health efforts.
“Several large studies have shown that among individuals who are seropositive from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19 incidence is reduced by 80 percent to 95 percent, similar to vaccine efficacy estimates,” the team noted.
Largely due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the CDC has also confirmed that roughly one million coronavirus vaccine booster shots already have been administered over the past two weeks. A more widespread rollout of the booster shots will occur the week of September 20.
President Joe Biden’s administration has noted that it would rely on recommendations from officials at the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration if there is any need to adjust the previously planned rollout of booster shots at eight months after receiving two coronavirus vaccine doses.
Some U.S. health officials are now suggesting that there is a possibility that the timeline could be moved up by three months.
3 Magic Number?
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday admitted that he would not be surprised if the recommended full regimen for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines eventually becomes three doses instead of two.
“I must say from my own experience as an immunologist, I would not at all be surprised that the adequate full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told reporters during a White House COVID briefing.
The current seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases in the United States has risen to approximately one hundred sixty thousand—which is more than ten times higher compared to just two months ago and more than 20 percent higher compared to two weeks ago, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.