Spanish test hints 5 per cent of population could have coronavirus





Madrid (dpa) - Up to 5 per cent of Spain's population - 2.3 million people - could be infected with the novel coronavirus based on the results of a new study, according to the Health Ministry.



The antibody study included about 90,000 people in 36,000 households and was designed to give an idea of the true extent of the viral outbreak. That would far surpass the official count of 229,000 known infections.
However, health authorities have long known that the number must be too low, since most tests have been on people displaying symptoms or on people working in health care. Many people get the virus and never display any symptoms. But many come down with the potentially fatal respiratory disease Covid-19.
Designed to provide more concrete data about the virus' spread, participants were given two different tests three times three weeks apart. Results showed that the population of hard-hit Madrid had an infection rate of about 10 per cent, while the Canary Islands or Mallorca only had rates of around 2 per cent.
But experts caution that the tests sometimes yield false positives if a person has been exposed to any other kind of coronavirus.

Wednesday, May 13th 2020
(dpa)
           


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