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New study suggests COVID-19 may be more widespread in Santa Clara County than numbers show

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — There is new information that suggests COVID-19 may be far more widespread in Santa Clara County than what the official count would suggest.

That’s according a new study at Stanford University, which took a close look at the Bay Area’s biggest hot spot.

The most important implication of this new research is that the number of infections is much greater than the reported number of cases. That means the virus is more widespread than previously thought.

It also underscores the potential of immunity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Even as health officials consider if and when to wind down the shelter in place amid some signs the rate of infection has eased in recent days, the results of a new study are startling.

The Stanford research finds that somewhere between 2.5% to 4.2% of Santa Clara County residents carry antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. The numbers show that the pathogen is far more widespread than previously estimated. The study concludes that between 48,000 and 81,000 people had already been infected by early April, or at least 50-times higher than the number of cases reported at that time. 

Those numbers also imply fewer people will die from COVID-19.

The results are based on tests conducted on 3,300 people on April 3 and 4 at three locations across Santa Clara County. The study lends credence to strategies embracing immunity and antibody protection as the road map to a gradual end to isolation for thousands of people.

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