Mass. Researchers Find 1-in-3 People On The Street Were Unknowingly Carrying The Coronavirus

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) conducted an experiment last week to determine how many random people on the street were actually carrying coronavirus antibodies.

The result was surprising as the MGH researchers found one in every three of these randomly tested people were carrying the coronavirus. About half said they were not experiencing any symptoms.

“Nearly one-third of 200 Chelsea residents who gave a drop of blood to researchers on the street this week tested positive for antibodies linked to COVID-19, a startling indication of how widespread infections have been in the densely populated city,” the Boston Globe reports.

Here’s more, from the report:

Public health experts already knew Chelsea had the state’s highest rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases and that the actual rate was probably higher. At least 39 residents have died from the virus, and 712 had tested positive as of Tuesday, a rate of about 1,900 cases per 100,000 residents, or almost 2 percent.

But the Mass. General researchers ― who excluded anyone who had tested positive for the virus in the standard nasal swab test ― found that 32 percent of participants have had COVID-19, and many didn’t know it.

MGH’s vice-chairman of pathology department Dr. John Iafrate, also the study’s principal investigator, described the result as  “both good news and bad news.”

“The bad news is that there’s a raging epidemic in Chelsea, and many people walking on the street don’t know that they’re carrying the virus and that they may be exposing uninfected individuals in their families,” he continued.

Adding, “On the good-news side, it suggests that Chelsea has made its way through a good part of the epidemic. They’re probably further along than other towns.”

As the Daily Wire reports, Chelsea’s city manager Thomas Ambrosino said the results confirm the long-held suspicions that coronavirus cases were higher than their figures reflected.

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“We’ve long thought that the reported numbers are vastly under-counting what the actual infection is,” said Ambrosino. “Those reported numbers are based on positive COVID-19 tests, and we’re all aware that a very, very small percentage of people in Chelsea and everywhere are getting COVID-19 tests.”

“Still, it’s kind of sobering that 30 percent of a random group of 200 people that are showing no symptoms are, in fact, infected. It’s all the more reason for everyone to be practicing physical distancing,” he added per the report.