UPDATE: An estimated 186,000-plus Hoosiers have or had COVID-19, new study says

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About 186,000 people in Indiana were estimated to be infected or previously infected with COVID-19 at the end of April, according to preliminary study results released Wednesday by the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI.

The school, in partnership with the Indiana State Department of Health, based the estimate on testing for COVID-19 and its antibodies it conducted from April 25 to May 1.

The tests involved 4,611 randomly selected Hoosiers representing all demographics and regions in the state. Those tested were both showing symptoms of the virus and the asymptomatic.

“Ideally, you know, we really would like to test every single Hoosier, but the next best thing to doing that is random sample testing—a scientific approach that allows us to confidently assess how COVID-19 has spread in Indiana, without really having to test everyone, which is just not feasible,” said Paul Halverson, founding dean of the Fairbanks School of Public Health.

The testing found 1.7% of those tested had the virus and another 1.1% had antibodies for the virus, indicating a previous infection. Adding those together, researchers came up with a 2.8% infection rate.

That rate indicates 186,000 people in the state had been infected as of May 1. Actual testing at the time, mostly conducted on symptomatic people, showed about 17,000 cases in the state.

“Only about one out of every 11 true infections were identified by tests,” said Nir Menachemi, chair of the health policy and management at Fairbanks.

The study, which is in its first phase and subject to adjustments, showed an infection death rate of 0.58%. In comparison, the death rate of those with the seasonal flu is about 0.1%.

It also showed 44.8% of those who are infected experience no symptoms.

State officials and Fairbanks researchers said that is why it’s important for Hoosiers to continue social distancing and wearing a mask while in public.

“We should all conduct ourselves like we are infected,” Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box said. “And it’s been a little heartbreaking for me to see some of the pictures that people have been sending in where people are standing in line back to back next to each other. They’re not social distancing, and people are not wearing masks.”

And Fairbanks researchers stressed that even with 186,000 Hoosiers already being infected, millions more still have not gotten the disease.

“As we slowly phase back and reopen the economy, we need to be extra vigilant with any and all safety precautions, so that we do not lose the ground that we gained by hunkering down,” Menachemi said.

The Fairbanks research also showed that people who live with an infected person are 12 times more likely to get the virus than those who don’t.

A second wave of testing is scheduled for June 3-7, which is slightly delayed from the initial dates suggested for the second round.

Menachemi said they decided it was better to wait until after the Memorial Day holiday to maximize participation, and researchers wanted to conduct the second wave after more of the economy had reopened so the data can provide a better understanding of what kind of impact the looser restrictions have on the spread of COVID-19.

“If we just tested everyone today when, you know, everything is still pretty much hunkered down, we wouldn’t expect to see that much of a change,” Menachemi said.

Gov. Eric Holcomb allowed most of the state to begin reopening on May 4. His five-stage approach calls for restrictions being completely lifted by July 4, but he has said he is willing to adjust the schedule as needed.

“If I walked away from this study with anything in my head, it’s this is a long road ahead,” Holcomb said.

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32 thoughts on “UPDATE: An estimated 186,000-plus Hoosiers have or had COVID-19, new study says

  1. “It also showed 44.8% of those who are infected experience no symptoms.”

    Wow, so we’re putting thousands of people out of work and countless businesses at risk, and half the people who have this virus never even know it. Shameful. Sounds like a fake pandemic to me.

    1. Note the death rate. There is no vaccine and no cure, so if the virus eventually infected everyone in Indiana we could expect about 400,000 Hoosiers to die of it. (0.58% of 6.6million)

    2. Better check your math Chris B. I calculate 38,000 ((0.58% of 6.6 million).

    3. Chris “expect” or speculate. Remember we started with an estimate. And estimate is a SWAG (scientific wild @ss guess) utilizing previous experience. Not sure we have a lot of people who understand the magnitude of the pandemic with the level of propaganda that is dispensed. I want to see number of death based on (2) criteria; those “with” C-19 and those of C-19. Once we understand the real numbers base on facts and not propaganda, agenda or money then we can have an educated discussion.

    4. Yes, we have people to count on in this situation. There are people who train their entire lives to be useful in these situations. We had a White House office full of them. We even had some on the ground in China so we could get real info, not Chinese propaganda. Remind me, what happened to those people?

      This is only a pandemic because the President thought, on his gut instinct, it would go away. We could have spent February figuring out how to come up with tests and masks so that society could have continued. He gambled and lost. We are paying the price. That much is not debatable and is water under the bridge.

      If we focused on MORE TESTS and MORE PPE for everyone, we could get this economy open quickly. I am still mystified why the same people who want the economy opened faster aren’t pushing for more testing, more PPE, and more contact tracing.

  2. What is shameful are the folks that don’t seem ot uderstand how pandemics and being a non-sick yet infectious wors. Here is the real take home message: “”The study, which is in its first phase and subject to adjustments, showed an infection death rate of 0.58%. In comparison, the death rate of those with the seasonal flu is about 0.1%.””

  3. Yes, six times more deadly than the flu and all fake. Hospitals and nursing homes filled with fake patients. All those health care workers are liars.

    If we had more tests and PPE for all in February, maybe we could have kept some businesses open. Too bad the Blue Angels couldn’t have dropped some PPE from the sky during their flyovers.

    1. I never said the sickness is fake; clearly it’s not. But the “pandemic” sure is. The sky isn’t actually falling.

    2. Andy E…I don’t think you understand the Latin of Pan-Demic. Pandemic is exactly what this is a diesease that has spread a wide/long distance. Since this is a disease that spring up out of nowhere and has impacted 2-3+million cases worldwide….that is the exact definition of Pandemic.

    3. .0005680343 confirmed, .0000388154 died, based on 4,317,061 cases globally. 7.6 billion population. Pandemic and wide spread or you have a better chance of getting stuck by lighting with a 1 iron in you hand.

    4. Joe, you probably think the CDC and Fauci did a great job. Who told us we should not wear masks because they were ineffective? It wasn’t Trump. Besides, Trump is an economic/financial person, why is he being blamed for the failure of our medical professionals? Of course he is a cheerleader for the recovery and for businesses reopening – that is is his expertise. Blame the CDC for not having accurate testing, and for sending out inaccurate tests, and telling us not to wear masks.

      Gawd, Democrats will use anything to point a finger at Trump.

  4. I bet of all those number the vast majority was common Coronavirus that the common cold and flu comes from and not COVID-19.

    Notice when COVID-19 came on the scene we were in the middle of our annual flu epidemic.

    Then by the statistics the flu epidemic disappeared and COVID-19’s numbers went through the roof! Then we started having people die of “Complications of COVID-19”

    Everything became and still is COVID-19!

    They need to audit the medical records and death certificates of all the past and present COVID-19 declarations!!!

    1. Yes, because all those people with negative flu tests (yet experiencing COVID symptoms) were faking that too!

      Think I’ll trust the medical professionals and the people who ran the study to know what they’re doing, thanks.

  5. An infection death rate of 0.58%. In comparison, the death rate of those with the seasonal flu is about 0.1%. Doesn’t sound fake to me.

  6. These “studies” are not studies at all. Nowhere in academia would this fly in terms of authentic research and following scientific principles. If it is a “model” or an “educated guess” then be honest enough to state it as such. But this whole thing is getting ridiculous and is evidence that they think the public is largely stupid and can be easily fooled.

    1. ” largely stupid and can be easily fooled.”

      And from the looks of the quarantining of the healthy society they have found their answer.

    2. This is exactly the type of study found in the fields of epidemiology and public health. Use of a calculated random sample to make total population estimates is statistically and scientifically sound. This describes the process simply: https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2019.00118.

      Also, read the full press release. There is a lot more in there than was summarized by IBJ. They clearly call their findings “preliminary”, “estimates” and a “snapshot in time” as they plan to repeat the study 3 more times. What would the numbers have been if social distancing and “quarantining” had not be done? Impossible to know, but it is unlikely they would have been less.

  7. I want to know how many people who have died “with” C-19 and how many “of” C-19. An 80 year old male, obese, high BP and Cholesterol, who smoke 3 packs a day and has COPD gets C-19 an dies, with or of? For $39,000 the report says of, for another 100K we shove a ventilator down his throat.

  8. There are some nasty people commenting on this board. Even with 10 times as many cases as we thought we had, it’s still six times more deadly than the flu. But many on this board seem to be smarter than the scientists and think they are experts in statistics. Go figure.

  9. Lets keep doing studies to document the revised study to revise the revised etc etc …Protect or house arrest those most vulnerable and open up all of country…Those not interested can stay home for the rest of their life…World is not sterile now and never will be…Open up all !

  10. Typical monthly deaths in Indiana:
    Heart disease. 1,204
    Cancer: 1,122
    Rest of top 10 combined: 1,682


    Current death total after 2.5 months of Covid-19 (half of that time in “shutdown”): 1,482

    1. 10-4 Chris. As I have said all along, getting Covid-19 might be the safest thing I can do this month.

    2. Yes, but don’t talk real numbers to the never open ups! They can’t handle that we have made a huge mistake by shutting down everyone and everything, instead of just isolating the vulnerable.

  11. As a physician, I have a few comments. This study is exactly what we need to be doing to find out the true prevalence of the disease. Follow up samplings will make the findings more useful. It is very alarming that only 2.8% of the population has been infected. That means that the vast majority of us are still susceptible. An infection death rate of 0.58% is indeed 6 times worse than seasonal flu. If anything the total death rate is much higher than what is listed due to a significant number of people dying in nursing homes and at home without being tested. The argument over dying with Covid vs dying of it is meaningless. Yes most deaths occur in the elderly with comorbidities. Most of them have been living with their hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc for years. When they get coronavirus, develop pneumonia and die, the coronavirus killed them. The other illnesses made them more susceptible, but the virus killed them, period. In our ICU’s the critical care doctors and nurses can now tell without testing who has Covid-19, even though they test every case now. The clinical course is very characteristic. While I am not a critical care physician, I am talking with them every day.

    We do need to re-open society and the economy, but we need to do it in a responsible manner. The fools who want to crowd beaches, fill up restaurants with no social distancing, resume stadium sporting events, etc., are asking us to sacrifice the vulnerable in our society so they can do what they want. If we follow that course we will be worse off than we were at the onset of this pandemic. I have spent my life trying to help people live long and healthy lives. I don’t need a bunch of selfish idiots sabotaging our health system’s best efforts.

  12. BRITTAN S. your math is correct. What I don’t understand is where did they get the .58% in the first place. What did they calculate that from? If they believe the amount of people infected was 185,000 in Indiana, wouldn’t we divide the reported deaths into that number?