More than 1 in 10 Hoosiers have had COVID-19, says Fairbanks experts

More than one in 10 Hoosiers have contracted the COVID-19 virus since March, according to new data estimates shared Wednesday by the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.

Speaking during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly briefing, Fairbanks officials said about 10.6% of the state’s residents have been infected by the virus—an increase from the 7.8% that was discerned from data collected through Oct. 3, in the third phase of the group’s study.

“We now know that and we have evidence to suggest that an increase in infections among younger Hoosiers quickly translates into more infections and thus more deaths among older Hoosiers,” said Dr. Nir Menachemi, endowed chair in the department of health policy and management at the Fairbanks school.

“This is exactly what is occurring right now to explain the increase in reported deaths and the strains on our hospitals.”

Fairbanks officials did not indicate how many people were included in the school’s latest wave of tests, which are conducted through random sampling across the state.

Menachemi said at current rates, another 13,000 Hoosiers could die before the state achieves herd immunity—which would entail about 70% of state residents becoming infected and possessing antibodies—without help from a vaccine. About 40% of those who contract COVID-19 are asymptomatic, the study found.

“Pushing to achieve herd immunity without a vaccine simply risks losing many lives in and outside of nursing homes,” he said.

IBJ reported in May that an initial Fairbanks study found about 186,000 Indiana residents had likely had the virus

The new findings also indicate an overall death rate of about 0.26%, but that percentage is closer to 2.3% among citizens ages 65 and older.

Menachemi said the approaches recommended at the state and federal levels to reduce the spread of the virus, such as social distancing and constant wearing of face coverings, “are also the things that we can do to protect our economy.”

The Fairbanks school has worked closely with state officials in an advisory role for several months, supplying data as Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Kristina Box determine ways to reduce community spread of COVID-19 and draft public health policy.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

7 thoughts on “More than 1 in 10 Hoosiers have had COVID-19, says Fairbanks experts

  1. WE NEED TO DO MORE THAN GENERATE NUMBER!!! WHY HASN’T FAIRBANKS and IU TAKEN A STRONG STAND AND DEMAND MORE FROM OUR GOVERNMENT LEADERS TO AGGRESSIVELY DEAL WITH THE PANDEMIC!!!!!!!!!!!

    WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO CONVINCE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION THAT THE “PLAN” IS NOT WORKING? THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IS OVERWHELMED, AND THE RESOURCES ARE SLOWING FADING AWAY. ARE WE THAT BACKWARD, REGARDING HEALTHCARE, THAT WE JUST LET THE TRAIN GO OVER THE CLIFF? THERE NEEDS TO BE A SERIOUS AND AGGRESSIVE PLAN WITH REAL CONSEQUENCES IF THE THERE IS NO COMPLIANCE!!!! I HAVE NO CLUE WHY THE COMMUNITY HAS NOT DEMANDED MORE.
    THE FOLLOWING MAY SOUND MONOTONOUS, BUT IT HAS TO BE SAID TILL REAL CHANGE HAPPENS:
    It is beyond belief that anyone in our local and State governments would allow this total disaster to continue unchecked. The State’s plan is too little and too late. The plan must be more aggressive and thorough. It is totally clear that the current administration does not have the internal medical expertise to make a decent plan to balance both health and the economy simultaneously. It appears that there is no group within our State that is willing to seriously confront the current administration to force it to make significant chances. Healthcare professionals, hospital systems, medical societies, etc. have been eerily silent.
    Even though I have written the following many times before, the basics remain the same. The citizens of our State have to get the message again and again and again, etc. (Remember how long it took to get people to wear seat belts!!!!!!!!!!! The same craziness against seat belts is being used to avoid masks. Many of the same mistakes were made during the 1918 pandemic as well. Too bad history seems to be avoided in our schools at all levels.)
    New record numbers every day!!!! How many citizens are we going to let get sick, and how many are going to let die? It really is as simple as that.
    However, let me try to understand the logic of the State response to the surging pandemic: Stage 5 is okay. Our focus, per Dr. Box, is to increase the amount of healthcare staff and healthcare capacity to take care of the increasing number of sick people. Oh by the way, please wear your mask, pretty please!! (I love it when the Health Commissioner, who recently got over COVID-19 episode, has only this to offer to curb the raging pandemic in our State.
    As I have said before our State needs outside expertise (e.g. Dr. Anthony Fauci) to tell us citizens the REAL status of our State’s current plan to mitigate the pandemic of our State. The current “experts” from State outside of government (e.g. IU) have done little more than to create a bunch of numbers that are totally not understood by the common lay person.
    There needs to a ground swell of outrage from the medical community (i.e. hospital, physicians, medical organizations, nursing organization, pharmacists, etc.) to force a change in how our State is handling the pandemic.
    The State has the money to finance, through the Care ACT, to fund a more comprehensive plan to provide all the necessary tools (PPE, testing, contact tracing, etc.) to get the situation under control.
    A responsible government would be able to balance the economy AND public health. Indiana appears not to be able to multitask. A responsible State government would be able to do both. (As a small business owner, I have lost at least 50% of my income for the year. I know the financial consequences of the pandemic. It took months as the beginning to obtain the necessary amount of PPE to keep my employees and customers safe. I have been able to keep the staff intact as well. However, one does not know what the future will bring)
    Hopefully, with the election over for the State, our local leaders will begin to multi-task. Frankly, I do not expect any progress. With the flu season beginning and with more indoor events, we need to expect that things are just going to get worse.
    Everyone for our State should realize that our current situation was avoidable. Letting things get worse by this State’s administration is UNCONSCIONABLE and INDEFENSIBLE.
    Everyone should re-watch the scene from “NETWORK” where Peter Finch gives a speech that still resonates today. Here is the YOUTUBE link:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwMVMbmQBug

  2. Other States and definitely other Countries have avoided what is getting worse in our State. The numbers of Covid-19 cases have gotten worse and worse since the State-wide shut down was lifted in early summer. Our local health care system is being overwhelmed. Look at the Indiana Covid-19 dashboard. Look at the increase in hospital admissions and the increases in the hospitalization census. Look at the decrease of available ICU beds which is down to only 22%. This means that 78% of the ICU beds are full! Indiana has the resources to do something, but the Governor does not want to spend the money provided by the Cares Act to deal with this raging pandemic. Things are going to get worse with the thoughtless/selfish citizens who remain adamant and demand to have family gatherings for this Thanksgiving holiday.

    I hope you do not contract the virus in the near future and require hospitalization because you might be told at the ER door that there are no ICU beds left.

    Everyone needs to take this more seriously and demand real action!!

  3. With the inaction by our leaders in Indiana to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic, I ask the following questions:
    Why have the healthcare professions of our State not demanded action?
    Why have the medical professional organizations of our State not demanded action?
    Why have the universities, medical schools, “research” organizations (“Indiana CTSI, BioCrossroads, IBRI, etc.) of our State not demanded action?
    Why have the hospitals of our State which are running out of ICU beds, staff, PPE, etc., etc. not demanded action?
    Why have the insurance companies of our State not demanded action?
    Why have all the media organizations of our State not demanded action?
    Why have the citizens of our State not demanded action?
    How long will it take?
    How many lives will be lost?
    How many jobs will be lost?
    Will we be able to stop the train of inaction before it takes us over the cliff?
    If not, we have only our collective selves to blame!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I just hope the vaccine is helpful and this virus doesn’t mutate too much. It is a scary thought to think that there could be multiple mutations of this virus. Who knows what devastation that could bring.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.