The tests indicate that the number of infections in the county is around 40 times as high as the number of confirmed cases.
by Jacob Sullum
Preliminary results from antibody tests in Los Angeles County indicate that the true number of COVID-19 infections is much higher than the number of confirmed cases there, which implies that the fatality rate is much lower than the official tallies suggest. “The mortality rate now has dropped a lot,” Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said at a press briefing today. In contrast with the current crude case fatality rate of about 4.5 percent, she said, the study suggests that 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent of people infected by the virus will die, which would make COVID-19 only somewhat more deadly than the seasonal flu.
Based on a representative sample of 863 adults tested early this month, researchers at the University of Southern California (USC), working in collaboration with the public health department, found that “approximately 4.1% of the county’s adult population has antibody to the virus.”