A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed only a small percentage of people in the United States have coronavirus antibodies.
This data suggests most people in the country are still at risk of contracting the novel virus, reported the Washington Post.
The findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, also indicates that the number of actual COVID-19 infections is probably anywhere from two to 13 times higher than the amount of cases that have been reported.
So far, the U.S. has reported over 3.8 million cases of the virus, according to the CDC.
The samples of the antibodies were gathered between early spring and late June in ten different parts of the country, including New York, California, Minnesota, Utah, South Florida and Louisiana.
Of all the locations, New York City saw the highest proportion of the population having antibodies with 24%. The other areas showed the percentage of the population with antibodies to be less than 10%. In Missouri, 2.8% had antibodies, Philadelphia saw 3.6%, while Connecticut revealed 5.2% had antibodies by early June.
“Most of us are likely still very vulnerable to this virus and we have a long way to go to control it,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the outlet. “This study should put to bed any further argument that we should allow this virus to rip through our communities in order to achieve herd immunity.”
Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a disease, either through prior infection or vaccination, making the transmission of disease from person to person less likely.
The threshold to reach herd immunity is usually between 60 -70% of the population.