INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A statewide study estimates that at least 2.8% of Indiana’s population has been infected by the coronavirus, a rate about 10 times that shown by previous testing, Indiana University researchers said Wednesday.
The testing of about 4,600 people at random around the state found 1.7% were infected at the time of the test and 1.1% tested positive for antibodies showing they were previously exposed. The tests were done by IU’s Fairbanks School of Public Health over a week ending May 1.
The findings project that Indiana has seen a 0.58% fatality rate among those infected. That rate is almost six times greater than the fatality rate for seasonal flu, said Nir Menachemi, a professor who led the study.
Nearly 45% of those infected reported experiencing no symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory disease. Menachemi said that highlighted the need for people to practice social distancing and wear masks in public to avoid unknowingly spreading the coronavirus.
The projected infection rate would mean about 186,000 Indiana residents had the coronavirus by the end of April, when the state health department reported fewer than 19,000 confirmed infections.
The study results come as Indiana’s death toll from confirmed or probable COVID-19 illnesses has grown past 1,600 people.