UofL study finds COVID-19 may have been more widespread in Louisville than initially thought

People's exposure to COVID-19 in Louisville may have been higher than previously thought, according to a study from UofL Health.
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - UofL Health has released results from a second study that looked at people's exposure to COVID-19 here in Louisville.

The results of phase II of their Co-Immunity project showed exposure may have been 4-6 times higher than initially thought.

From June 10 to June 19, UofL tested people from every corner of Louisville to find out where people were exposed to COVID-19.

Doctors still believe their antibody testing methods are the better barometer for measuring exposure than tests that come back positive at the time of infection.

“I think this data are [sic] much more rigorous and believable and accurate than the estimates than any other random sampling,” said Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar of UofL’s Christina Lee Brown Enviroment Institute, “[more accurate] than any other convenient sampling around the world.”

Dr. Bhatnagar said the results they found from the people they tested in June don't exactly match up with official numbers.

He believes the exposure rate is actually higher.

Bill Altman, who’s leading the city of Louisville’s work on testing, said that points out one very important thing to the community. “The antibody testing showed that more people in the community than we previously knew about, and many of these people were asymptomatic,” said Altman. “It reinforces the message that we’ve been delivering throughout this pandemic, which is we can’t assume that people who aren’t symptomatic are not carrying the disease.”

UofL plans to run another phase of this Co-Immunity test again in September and plans to keep running these tests every couple of months.

They’ll be looking at where the virus is spread in Louisville, how old the infected are, and how it gets from person to person.

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