A U.S. nationwide blood survey released on Tuesday showed that more than half of the U.S. population has been infected with the coronavirus since the pandemic.
The study issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention marked the first time 57.7% of Americans had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in their blood, which was up from 33.5% in December when the Omicron wave began sweeping across the country.
According to the new data, children and adolescents, many of whom remain unvaccinated, had the highest infection, while people 65 and older – a heavily vaccinated population – had the lowest.
“Having infection-induced antibodies does not necessarily mean you are protected against future infection,” said the CDC’s Kristie Clarke, co-author of the study, during a media briefing.
“We did not look at whether people had a level of antibodies that provides protection against reinfection or severe disease,” Clarke added.
According to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, U.S. COVID-19 infections have risen from 22.7% in the past week to 44,000 per day, and hospitalizations rose for the second week to 6.6%, largely driven by subvariants of Omicron.
The CDC now recommends people wear a mask in public indoor settings in certain counties with high COVID-19 community spread.
Walensky said the CDC continues to recommend masking in all indoor public transportation settings and stressed that vaccination remains the safest strategy for preventing complications from COVID-19.
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