Six out of ten Americans have COVID antibodies from a previous coronavirus infection. This demonstrates how widespread the virus was during last winter’s Omicron surge.
In fact, the proportion of Americans with antibodies is even higher among children. The findings are from data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Americans With COVID Antibodies Increased From 34% to 58%
According to the CDC, the proportion of Americans with COVID antibodies rose from 34% in December to 58% in February. This only covers natural antibodies found in people who previously contracted the virus.
The CDC analysis did not cover antibodies that resulted from vaccination. The CDC published its findings in Tuesday’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The increase in antibody presence is even higher among children. Around 75% or three out of four American children now have COVID antibodies from previous infections. In contrast, only 45% of children had the same antibodies last December.
High Rate of Infection Led To Higher Antibody Prevalence
The higher presence of COVID antibodies means that more Americans fell victim to COVID-19 during the Omicron surge last winter.
The higher rate among children is likely due to lower vaccination rates compared to adults. Only 28% of kids aged five to 11 years received a vaccine.
In addition, only 59% of teens between 12 to 17 years completed their vaccine program. American kids under 5 years old have yet to receive any vaccines.
For adults, 64% of Americans between 18 to 49 years of age had COVID antibodies present in their systems. In contrast, only 33% of Americans aged 65 or older had the antibodies. Meanwhile, half of all Americans between 50 to 64 had the antibodies.
74,000 Blood Samples Analyzed Every Month
To reach the numbers, the CDC analyzed around 74.000 blood samples every month between September 2021 through January 2022. The utilized data was supplied by a national commercial lab network.
For the February numbers, the sample size decreased to 46,000. The agency tested the samples for specific antibodies that the body produces in response to COVID. Vaccination produces a different antibody type.
The CDC said that the study did not measure if people with previous COVID infections had enough antibody levels to protect against reinfection.
However, CDC Director Dr. Rachel Walensky said that vaccination offered additional protection across communities. She cautioned that vaccination remains the safest strategy to protect against COVID.
Even With Natural COVID Antibodies, Get Vaccinated
Walensky recommended that even those with natural COVID antibodies should still get the vaccines. “We don’t know when that infection was. We don’t know whether that protection has waned,” she said.
However, Qatar-based scientists affiliated with Cornell University released the results of a study that has not undergone peer review.
The study claims that natural infection provides about 73% protection against hospitalization if a person contracts BA.2 (Omicron).
In contrast, three doses of Pfizer's vaccine provided 98% protection. Per the CDC, 66% of the US population is fully vaccinated. In addition, 77% of the population received at least one dose.
The US Now Has Low COVID Community Levels
According to the CDC, 98% of Americans are residing in areas where masks are unnecessary in indoor settings. A US district judge already struck down the CDC’s plans to extend a mask mandate for public transportation.
However, the Justice Department filed an appeal to reinstate the mask mandate. In the meantime, Walensky and the CDC maintained their recommendation for Americans to wear masks while commuting in public.
Watch the 13News Now video reporting on the CDC's latest study on natural COVID-19 antibodies:
What do you think of the latest CDC report detailing more Americans having natural COVID antibodies due to previous infections? Do you think that we still need vaccines to boost our protection against present and future strands of COVID?
Let us know what you think. Share your comments below.
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