A US study shows that more than half of Americans have contracted COVID-19

April 26 (Reuters) – After a record spike in COVID-19 cases during the Omicron-led wave, about 58% of the general US population and more than 75% of younger children have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to a nationwide blood survey. United States, which was released on Tuesday.

The study, released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Prevention marks the first time that more than half of the US population has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 at least once, and provides a detailed look at the impact of Omicron’s surge in the US.

Prior to the arrival of Omicron in December of 2021, a third of the US population had evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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Omicron led to increased infection rates in every age group, according to the new data, but children and adolescents, many of whom remained unvaccinated, had the highest infection rates, while those 65 and older — a group of the vaccinated population — had the highest infection rates. Severely – lowest infection rates.

During the December-February period — when Omicron’s cases were raging in the United States — 75.2% of children age 11 or younger had infection-related antibodies in their blood, up from 44.2% in the previous three-month period. Among those ages 12 to 17, 74.2% carried antibodies, up from 45.6% from September to December.

The scientists looked for specific antibodies produced in response to SARS-CoV-2 that are present only after infection and are not produced by COVID-19 vaccines. Trace amounts of these antibodies can remain in the blood for up to two years.

“Having antibodies caused by an infection does not necessarily mean that you are protected from future infections,” Christy Clark of the CDC and co-author of the study said during a briefing. “We did not examine whether people had a level of antibodies that would provide protection against reinfection or severe disease.”

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walinsky told reporters during the briefing that COVID-19 infections in the United States are on the rise, rising 22.7% in the past week to 44,000 cases per day. The number of hospitalizations increased for the second week in a row, up 6.6%, driven largely by Omicron subvariables.

While deaths are down 13.2%, on a weekly basis, the US is fast approaching the grim stage of 1 million COVID-related deaths.

Walensky said the BA.1 variant, which caused the Omicron wave, now accounts for only 3% of transmissions in the United States. Increasingly, she said, a variant first discovered in northern New York called BA.2.121 makes up nearly 30% of US cases, and appears to be 25% more transmissible even than the highly contagious BA.2 variant of Omicron.

In some counties where COVID-19 is most prevalent, the CDC is now recommending people wear a mask in enclosed public spaces. It cited northern New York and the Northeast as areas with high hospitalizations.

Walinsky said the CDC continues to recommend mask disguise on all indoor public transportation, and stressed that vaccination remains the safest strategy for preventing complications from COVID-19.

More than 66% of the US population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and about 46% of them have received a booster dose, according to federal data.

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Additional reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru and Julie Steinhuisen in Chicago; Editing by Bill Bercrot

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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