Paris (AFP) – The lack of available tests for COVID-19 means the world is effectively fighting the pandemic blind and may not know the true extent of infection for months if not years, experts said Thursday.
Because COVID-19 is so infectious — roughly 2.5 times that of the common cold — but not everyone presents symptoms, the figure of more than 200,000 confirmed cases tells only a fraction of the story.
On Tuesday the British government conceded it was likely there were already more than 55,000 COVID-19 infections in the country, far higher than the more than 2,600 confirmed cases so far.
Jerry Shaman, a diseases expert at the University of Columbia, told AFP it was “likely” that developed nations are identifying between one in five and one in 10 true infections.
Shaman said there was a variety of reasons, including “test availability, capacity, ignorance (not taking the issue seriously), arrogance (national pride).”
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