Not “Everyone” Has Been Infected with COVID

Actually, it might be as high as thirty percent, at least through September 2022*. A subset of COVID minimizers are fond of saying things like ‘everyone has already had COVID’, but, according to CDC data that examine at how many people are seropositive for the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein**, lots of us still haven’t been infected yet:

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There’s also a definite age effect here:

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It’s worth noting that ‘everyone’, especially on (most) social media, will be biased towards the younger cohorts. Overall, thirty percent of those tested lack markers of infection. During July–September 2022, 85.7% of unvaccinated people were infected, while 64.3% of vaccinated people were.

There are a couple of caveats. First, this is a population of blood donors, and they might not be representative of the larger population. Second, one study argues that, in about 20-25% of infected people, nucleocapsid antibodies wane after several months, so there might be some undercounting. Third, vaccination status was self-reported.

Still, the argument that ‘everyone has had COVID’, particularly among older age groups, is just not true, even as other CDC data suggest that just about every child in the U.S. has been exposed to COVID (who exactly consented to that experiment, by the way?).

Anyway, if you’re still taking precautions to avoid infection–or for that matter, reinfection–you’re not the weirdo.

*This delay is one example of why the CDC needs to improve its data acquisition and release process.

**Anyone who is vaccinated or infected will express antibodies to the spike (S) protein (the spike protein is used in the vaccine), but only the infected will have been exposed to the nucleocapsid (N) protein, as nucleocapsid protein isn’t used in the mRNA or Novavax vaccines.

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