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1 in 3 Americans had COVID-19 by end of 2020, study says

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 1:44 PM EDT
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(CNN) – A new study points out just how widespread the coronavirus was last year.

It says one in three Americans had the virus by the end of 2020, but less than a quarter of those cases were officially recorded.

COVID testing wasn’t readily available at the beginning of the pandemic, so the full picture of just how widespread the virus was couldn’t be captured.

To get more precise numbers, researchers from Columbia University created a model that simulated disease transmission. They also used population, mobility and case data.

The figures estimate that more than 60% of the population in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas were infected in 2020.

Cities like Chicago and New York also had very high infection rates.

According to the study, when stronger public health measures like mask mandates were taken, there were fewer fatalities.

It warns that “an estimated 69% of the population remained susceptible to viral infection.”

The study was published Thursday in the journal Nature.

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