The COVID-19 cases in the US could be much greater than the official count, according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said that the number of infections was between two and 24 times the number of offical reported cases, reports Xinhua news agency.
It estimates that infections could have surpassed 640,000 as of April 1, when only 53,803 cases were registered.
The number of cases in South Florida, Connecticut and Minnesota was six to 11 times the official record.
“The findings may reflect the number of persons who had mild or no illness or who did not seek medical care or undergo testing but who still may have contributed to ongoing virus transmission in the population,” Politico news quoted the authors of the study, published on Tuesday in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal, as saying.
The study is based on antibody tests of about 16,000 people conducted between late March and early May in parts of California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington state.
The study echoed comments from CDC Director Robert Redfield last month, when he estimated that the country actually had more than 20 million infections at the time.
“A significant majority of the American public � probably greater than 90 per cent of the American public … remains susceptible,” Redfield said in June.
The US currently accounts for the world’s highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities at 3,967,917 and 143,147, respectively.