About 14 percent of the US population may already have antibodies to the novel coronavirus and could safely wait for a vaccine, according to a new study.
Pfizer Vaccines researchers looked at antibody tests conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over the past year.
They found that as of November 15, nearly 47 million Americans were infected with COVID-19, which is more than double the currently recognized number.
It’s also 4.3 times higher than the 10.8 million cases registered at the time.
In addition, the team estimated that a million people had been hospitalized and nearly 305,000 people had died by that point.
With the federal government rolling out millions of doses of vaccine this week, the results suggest that vaccination efforts can focus on those who have never been exposed so that the U.S. population can achieve herd immunity faster.
It also comes, as several researchers suggest, such as Johns Hopkins Professor Dr. Marty Makary that only 20 percent need to be vaccinated immediately to contain the pandemic.
The researchers looked at five CDC surveys that tested coronavirus antibody levels between April and August and found antibodies in up to 23% of participants
They found that as of November 15, 46,910,006 people had been infected with coronavirus – or more than 14% of Americans. Pictured: Shayleen Ojeda uses a nasal swab for a COVID-19 test in Ontario, California, December 2020