95 Percent of People in These States Are Still "Very Vulnerable" to COVID

Antibody testing shows that the vast majority of people in these areas can still contract the virus.

As the coronavirus continues to tear through the U.S., some have held onto hopes that we would soon achieve "herd immunity"—meaning that enough people became immune through past infection to slow and eventually stop the virus. However, research has shown that waiting on herd immunity is a deadly strategy, as COVID will have to infect many more people—killing a portion of them—in order for us to get anywhere close. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and published by JAMA Internal Medicine shows that the percentage of the population with coronavirus antibodies is still in single digits in many areas of the U.S. In fact, at least 95 percent of people in some states, cities, and general areas of the U.S. are still in danger of getting COVID.

"Most of us are likely still very vulnerable to this virus and we have a long way to go to control it," Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security, told The Washington Post of the results. "This study should put to bed any further argument that we should allow this virus to rip through our communities in order to achieve herd immunity." And for more on the pandemic, Coronavirus Will Be Around for "Decades to Come," Expert Warns

San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco

Per the CDC study, only 1.0 percent of people in the San Francisco Bay Area have "detectable" coronavirus antibodies. Because of this, researchers estimate that there were likely over 64,000 infections within the population within the study period of mid-March to mid-May compared to the reported 7,151. And for more on California's COVID struggles, This State Is on Track to Surpass New York With the Most COVID Cases.

Western Washington

Seattle skyline
Shutterstock/Anna Abramskaya

In the western part of Washington state, 1.1 percent of people tested have COVID antibodies. While 4,308 cases had been reported within the time period, the study estimates that the actual number of infections is closer to 48,000.

South Florida

South Florida aerial shot
Shutterstock/Kenneth Carlson

In South Florida, which includes hard-hit counties like Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, a mere 1.9 percent of people had detectable antibodies at the time of testing. With over 10,000 cases reported within the testing period, the corrected number estimated by the CDC is over 117,000 infections. And for more on the southern state's COVID battle, check out Florida Governor Claims Doing This Is Riskier Than Going to Disney World.


Park City Utah
Shutterstock/Johnny Adolphson

In the entire state of Utah, in people over the age of 19, an estimated 2.2 percent have COVID antibodies. Having reported 4,493 cases, the CDC's best guess is that more than 47,000 people in the state were actually infected.

Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud Metro Area

Downtown minneapolis
Shutterstock/Milen Mkv

Across major cities in Minnesota, only 2.4 percent of tested individuals possess COVID antibodies. Though their reported total case number was under 9,000 at this time, the CDC says that the real number is around 90,000. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.


downtown kansas city missouri

More than 97 percent of people in Missouri are still susceptible to the coronavirus based on this antibody testing. Only 2.7 percent of individuals can claim any immunity. With over 6,700 cases reported at the time, it's estimated that Missouri's total by mid-May was already up to 161,936 infections.

Philadelphia Metro Area

Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania fares only slightly better, with 3.2 percent of tests showing antibodies. With more than 22,000 cases reported in the spring, it's likely that more than 155,000 infections went undetected, based on these results.


Shutterstock/Real Window Creative

In Connecticut, almost 95 percent of people are still likely to contract COVID, with only 4.9 percent of samples testing positive for antibodies. Though the state had recorded less than 30,000 cases, the CDC estimates that it actually saw over 176,000 infections by the middle of May. And for more on cases without symptoms, check out If You're Asymptomatic, You May Be More Likely to Get the Coronavirus Again.

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