Right now, how many folks in your community are carrying Covid infections?

Make your guess, then read on…

The likelihood that any of us get infected by covid starts, in theory, with its “prevalence rate” — the percentage of people walking around with a current (and possibly contagious) infection.

That’s why I’ve been so interested in that number.

To that point, researchers reporting in the science magazine Nature say:

On December 31, 2020,  0.77% of the U.S. population had a contagious infection.

That’s about 1 in every 130 people on average.

In some places, it was much higher.

In Los Angeles, for example, nearly 1 in 40 (or 2.42%) had a SARS-CoV-2 infection as they rang in the 2021 New Year.

OK, that at least gives us an order of magnitude.

We can expect that about 1 in 100 people we bump into have a covid infection and may be contagious .

The rate is higher in hot spots — communities and venues.

So, is 1 in 100 a high number or a low number?

It probably overstates the risk since (a) not all infected people are contagious (b) not all contagious people transmit the virus at the same severity level (c) some people are more immune than others (i.e. naturally or via vaccinations), and (d) some people mitigate more effectively than others.

So, the likelihood of getting infected is probably much lower than the community prevalence rate, but it’s certainly not zero.

So, keep your guard up.

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