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Iceland has tested 10% of its population at random, and found that half of those with positive results for SARS-COV-2 had no symptoms: USA Today

2020-04-10

 

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Iceland flowers by David Mark via pixabay.com

USA Today reports that Iceland’s random testing and voluntary social distancing policies have worked.  The figures: 0.3-0.8% of the population tested positive, with more than 1600 cases but just six deaths.  That’s out of a population of roughly 364,000 people, a medium sized town in the US.  Most importantly, about 50% of those testing positive had no symptoms at the time they were tested.

That is particularly important giving the way the testing was conducted.  Subjects were chosen at random using the country’s telephone directory.  This suggests that the true figure for asymptomatic infections is really more like half than the 25% previously estimated in the US.

Clearly, the 25% figure was just a lower bound on the estimate of asymptomatic infections.  Barring some unusual complications, these numbers from Iceland are more likely to be accurate than anywhere else given their selection methods.

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