NPR: Why The Pandemic Is 10 Times Worse Than You Think
The model’s conclusion: On any given day, the actual number of active cases — people who are newly infected or still infectious — is likely 10 times that day’s official number of reported cases.
The model has not been published or peer-reviewed yet, but lead researcher, Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University, shared the data exclusively with NPR. Here are more of the startling takeaways.
….”The numbers amplify greatly,” says Shaman. “When we look at confirmed cases, we’re really only seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
The rate of testing in the U.S. has improved over time. Shaman’s model finds that at the very start of the pandemic, only 1 in 10 cases were being reported. By early May, it had risen to 1 in 6. By September, it was up to 1 in 5.
Shaman estimates that, on average over the past three months, the official tally has been counting only 1 in 4 infections. In other words, says Shaman, to get a rough sense of the actual number of new cases per day, you should multiply the daily reported number by four.