Without widespread testing, many have wondered if the true number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and around the world is much higher than reported. Now, a new study out of Iceland is only muddying the waters.
According to Breitbart, “wide-scale testing” for COVID-19 in Iceland showed that roughly 50% of those who tested positive for the disease never showed any symptoms.
That is both bad and good news, as it means the virus is likely far more easily spread than anyone realizes — but it may also mean the virus isn’t always as severe as some have suggested.
Crunching the numbers
With the help of a private biopharma company known as deCODE Genetics, Icelandic health officials had by Tuesday administered coronavirus tests to more than 17,900 people, roughly 5% of the island nation’s total population of 364,000. Approximately half of those tests had been administered at random on the wider population, not just those who’d shown symptoms or were in the “high risk” categories, Breitbart noted.
The widespread testing found that roughly 50% of those who tested positive were asymptomatic — meaning they likely would not have received a test if testing were based solely on risk categories or symptoms, even though they were contagious and could easily have been transmitting the disease to others.
According to Iceland’s daily updated data, the small nation currently has 1,364 confirmed cases of the disease, of which only 45 are currently hospitalized and only 12 of whom are in intensive care. Sadly, four Icelanders have died from COVID-19 thus far.
Of all the current confirmed cases in the country, 1,024 patients are currently in isolation, while another 6,300 people are in quarantine. At least 10,289 people have already completed and been released from quarantine, and 336 individuals were listed as having fully recovered from the viral disease.
Sen. Rand Paul weighs in
The findings of the Icelandic testing were quite interesting to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), thus far the only U.S. senator to test positive for COVID-19, as it appears to match his own experience with the virus. He told Breitbart: “I believe we need more testing immediately, even among those without symptoms.
“The nature of COVID-19 put me, and us all, in a Catch-22 situation,” he continued. “I didn’t fit the criteria for testing or quarantine. I had no symptoms and no specific encounter with a COVID-19 positive person.
“I had, however, traveled extensively in the U.S. and was required to continue doing so to vote in the Senate,” the senator added. “That, together with the fact that I have a compromised lung, led me to seek testing.”
Let’s get testing
If, as has been repeatedly promised by U.S. health officials, testing capabilities are ramped up and made widely available to all — instead of just those deemed at risk or already showing symptoms — it might be similarly discovered here in the U.S. that the coronavirus, while incredibly widespread, is actually less dangerous or deadly than initially believed.
If that is indeed the case, and this virus doesn’t present the apocalyptic threat to humanity as some initially estimated, it would go a long way toward rapidly ending the economically destructive shutdowns and “stay-at-home” orders imposed across the country — something President Donald Trump would surely be glad to hear.