An estimated 3 out of 4 U.S. children and more than half of all adults have been infected with COVID-19, according to a report released on Tuesday, April 26 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But a Mayo Clinic expert says more information is needed to get the complete picture.
"This was a convenient sample. In other words, people who were having blood drawn for other reasons were tested,"explains Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "That does not reflect the full population or differences by race or geographic location. And the detection of antibodies does not necessarily mean that you are protected from infection. So, there's a lot of nuance around understanding that headline."
The research study looked at more than 200,000 blood samples and found that signs of past infection rose dramatically during the omicron surge between December 2021 and February.
Other COVID-19 news this week includes a push to make treatments more available, the rising incidence of new omicron subvariants, and changes in mask recommendations. Dr. Poland cautions that COVID-19 is still present and encourages wearing a mask in crowded spaces, even when there isn't a requirement to do so.
"If only one of us is wearing a mask and the other one isn't and is infected, you still have pretty high protection — but not the same level of protection as if both of us wearing one," says Dr. Poland. "So, it's it is not futile to be the only one wearing a mask. In fact, I think it sends a message."
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses the latest COVID-19 news and answers listener questions.
For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.
Research disclosures for Dr. Gregory Poland.