How many people actually have Covid-19?

No one knows, but it’s certain that official counts will be under reporting actual cases. By how much?

“2.3% of Americans surveyed said they’ve been diagnosed with the coronavirus, a percentage that could translate to several million people”

The current official total in the US is 75,000 cases (and 1,070 deaths).

Official counts of cases of Covid-19 have been questioned around the world. The limited number of tests done and the narrow criteria for getting a test here in New Zealand naturally raises questions about the true numbers.

The only thing we can be certain of is that actual numbers are greater than official numbers, at least of cases (questions have also been raised about death counts in some countries).

Reuters: How many Americans have coronavirus? New Reuters poll might offer a hint

The official count of coronavirus infections in the United States sits at about 70,000 cases, but a chronic shortage of tests means only a fraction of the people infected are being counted. So how can we know how many Americans actually might have the disease?

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in the past several days could offer what one behavioral health expert called a “fascinating” hint of the possible numbers.

In the nationwide poll, 2.3% of Americans surveyed said they’ve been diagnosed with the coronavirus, a percentage that could translate to several million people.

Diagnosed by whom? That is likely to be various and of varying reliability.

Of course, it’s impossible to know if the answers are a result of misinformed self-diagnoses, untested professional diagnoses or test-confirmed infections. But Carnegie Mellon University professor Baruch Fischhoff, who studies risk perception and analysis, said that the poll results shouldn’t be viewed as merely a collective neurotic reaction to the pandemic.

Given the shortage of coronavirus test kits, it may well be a broadly accurate estimate of the extent of the infection across the United States, he said. “It may be the best available data,” he said.

A further 2.4% of those polled said they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

And in an illustration of the degrees of separation with the deadly virus, a further 2.6% said they knew someone who has been in close contact with a person who has tested positive.

While accuracy of these results can be questioned, there is a rise from a similar poll that at least suggests significant under counting in official numbers.

The poll, which surveyed 4,428 adults between March 18 and 24, shows a dramatic increase in those saying they have tested positive for the virus from a similar poll conducted just a few days earlier.

In the Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,115 Americans conducted March 16 and 17, about 1% said they were infected.

The second poll was just after the first, but was for a longer period and polled four times as many people.

Still, the poll results may fill some gaps in knowledge in the face of limited testing.

For example, Fischhoff said, on March 15, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine estimated there were about 100,000 infections in his state, which represents about 1% of the state’s population, despite there only being a handful of confirmed cases at the time.

If these suggested infection rates are anywhere near reality there is one positive – the death rate per infected person and per population will be a lot lower.

But the obvious negative is that the virus may be far more widely established and spread in populations, including here in New Zealand.

One thing that needs to be remembered – until an effective vaccine becomes widely available Covid-19 will continue to spread probably everywhere, and more and more people will get it.

Apart from hoping a vaccine will come out in time we have to hope we don’t get it until the demand for health services settles back and treatments improve as they learn what works best to deal with the symptoms and avoid complications.

So for now I’m happy to be in isolation, and I am prepared for this being for closer to four months than four weeks (August has been mentioned as a time we may be getting on top of things by).

Double digit lead for Clinton

The latest poll (Reuters/Ipsos) gives Hillary Clinton an 11% lead over Donald Trump.

  • Clinton 46%
  • Trump 35%
  • Neither 19%

Clinton opens up double-digit lead over Trump nationwide: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton has opened up a double-digit lead over Republican rival Donald Trump, regaining ground after the New York billionaire briefly tied her last month, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday.

Some 46 percent of likely voters said they supported Clinton, while 35 percent said they supported Trump, and another 19 percent said they would not support either, according to the survey of 1,421 people conducted between May 30 and June 3.

Trump had briefly tied Clinton in support among likely U.S. voters in May, raising expectations for a tight race between the two likely contenders in November’s presidential election.

Only 5 months and about 500 polls until the election.