A new study has revealed that the actual number of coronavirus cases could be higher than the reported number of cases. According to a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the actual number of global COVID-19 cases is six times higher than what has been reported officially. The study analysed data from 15 developed countries, 11 European nations, as well as Australia, Canada, South Korea, and the United States.
The study estimated that in the above-mentioned 15 countries a cumulative number of 49.710 million people had been infected from COVID-19 as of August 31, as compared to the reported total of 8.023 million. Belgium, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom are the countries with low detection rates as the study estimated the reported number of cases in these four nations to be 10 percent of the actual number of cases.
"Most countries in the world have undertaken fewer tests per 1000 people, and have a lower capacity to test, than the 15 developed countries in our sample. Our study, therefore, suggests that the number of people who are infected with, or who have recovered from COVID-19, is many times greater than the reported number of cases from viral testing," the study said.
The study estimated the actual number of cases in the United Kingdom to be at 5.4 million, which is 8 percent of the country's population, as opposed to 1.4 million it has officially reported so far. The study said that Italy had 17 times more cases than it had reported by the end of August, while placed Australia along with South Korea to have the best detection among the 15 countries due to the low number of cases.
"We found COVID-19 infections are much higher than confirmed cases across many countries, and this has important implications for both control and the probability of infection," said Professor Quentin Grafton, one of the co-authors of the study.
The study used the 'backcasting' process, which examines COVID-19-related fatalities and compares with time from infection to symptoms and time from symptoms to death.
(With inputs from PTI)