In South Korea, zero.zero-7 percent of people have antibodies against COVID-19.

“The government tested 1,440 people for antibodies between June 10th and August 13th, and one person was confirmed positive.”

That’s much lower than, for example — New York City at 25 percent, London at 17 percent and Spain at six percent.
Antibodies are what give you immunity to a disease once you’ve already been infected, so the data suggest South Korea has relatively few people who’ve caught the disease and just not had symptoms.
This is largely thanks to its aggressive testing.

But there’s a twist.
The antibody rate went up slightly from the previous study, conducted from April to June, when it was 0.03 percent.
That could make a big difference when factoring in the country’s population of more than 50 million.
Theoretically, the more recent study would mean around 35-thousand cases.
But in fact, the country has only confirmed around 22-thousand, which could mean some 13-thousand have gone undetected.
That’s a notable gap compared to the first test, when estimated and actual cases almost matched.
This gap, however, isn’t necessarily accurate.

“Given the scale of the outbreak, 15-hundred people isn’t a big enough sample to accurately determine the percentage of asymtomatic cases, so we can’t generalize.”

Experts also say more testing is needed.

“The second wave began around mid-August, so we should look at samples taken after that period. It’s not going to end with one or two rounds of research; tracking should be done in a continuous manner.”

The government is in the process of doing so, this time with bigger and more diverse samples.
Lee Kyung-eun, Arirang News.

Reporter : kelee@arirang.com

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