Millions of U.S. Coronavirus Cases in March Weren't Diagnosed: Study

TUESDAY, June 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- An estimated 8.7 million Americans are believed to have been infected with the new coronavirus in March, but more than 80% were never diagnosed, researchers report.

They examined U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on people with flu-like illnesses who were seen by doctors or at clinics but not diagnosed with coronavirus, the flu or any other viruses that typically circulate in winter, CNN reported.

There was a huge surge in such cases in March, according to the study published June 22 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Only 100,000 cases of the new coronavirus were officially reported in March, and the total number of cases reported in the United States was only 2.3 million as of Monday.

"We found a clear, anomalous surge in influenza-like illness [ILI] outpatients during the COVID-19 epidemic that correlated with the progression of the epidemic in multiple states across the U.S.," Justin Silverman, of Penn State University, and colleagues wrote, CNN reported.

"The surge of non-influenza ILI outpatients was much larger than the number of confirmed cases in each state, providing evidence of large numbers of probable symptomatic COVID-19 cases that remained undetected," they noted.

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