Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield on Thursday estimated that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country may be 10 times higher than reported, which means that the actual amount of cases may top 20 million.
“Our best estimate right now is that for every case that’s reported, there actually are 10 other infections,” Redfield told reporters on a call Thursday, according to NBC News.
Redfield also pointed out how the novel coronavirus “causes so much asymptomatic infection.”
“The traditional approach of looking for symptomatic illness and diagnosing it obviously underestimates the total amount of infections,” Redfield said.
During the call, Redfield said that the new assessment came from reviewing blood samples nationwide to seek out the presence of antibodies to the novel coronavirus. Redfield explained that for every confirmed case of COVID-19, 10 more people had antibodies, which signals whether an individual’s immune system has already fought off the coronavirus.
Additionally, the blood samples also came from testing donated blood at blood banks or from other laboratory testing.
Redfield’s remarks come amid spikes in COVID-19 cases in several states. The CDC currently reports that there are 2.3 million cases in the country. Now the CDC estimates that the actual number of coronavirus cases comes to a total of at least 23 million.
Texas, Florida and Arizona have emerged as coronavirus hot spots as cases surged following the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions.
On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that the state will pause further reopening phases in light of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surging. Abbott made his announcement a day after he warned that Texas was facing a “massive” COVID-19 outbreak as new coronavirus cases exceeded 5,000 and more than 4,000 hospitalizations.
On Tuesday, Arizona hit new records by reporting more than 3,500 new coronavirus cases and 42 deaths.
Florida hit a new record for daily new cases as well on Wednesday by reporting over 5,500 new cases — surpassing its previous record set over the weekend.