Only 34% of population had COVID-19 antibodies from infection in December
Around three of out every five Americans have COVID-19 antibodies stemming from a prior infection, according to a new analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number included children, who the CDC found to have COVID-19 antibodies in an even higher proportion than adults. In total, around 75% of children and teenagers have antibodies from a COVID-19 infection.
While the CDC says it did not study whether those with COVID-19 antibodies are entirely protected against severe illness or reinfection, it was optimistic that the numbers indicate there is a significant amount of community protection through the combination of vaccines, booster shots, and natural infections.
“Those who have detectable antibody from prior infection, we still continue to encourage them to get vaccinated,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters during a call on Tuesday. “We don’t know when that infection was. We don’t know whether that protection has waned. We don’t know as much about that level of protection than we do about the protection we get from both vaccines and boosters.”
The data, which was published by the CDC on its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, showed an increase from December, when around 34% of the population was found to have natural COVID-19 antibodies stemming from a prior infection.
As it stands, around 66% of the U.S. population is currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 77% of Americans have received at least one dose, according to the CDC.
Infections and hospitalizations, meanwhile, have fallen more than 90% since the omicron variant’s peak in January, when new infections in the U.S. reached greater than 800,000 each day.
Restrictions around the country have also been lifted recently, with more than 98% of the U.S. population now living in an area where they are no longer required to wear a mask indoors under CDC guidance.