NATIONWIDE -- As of Thursday there were approximately 2.3 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States. However, based on the results of antibody tests and other data, health officials estimate roughly 20 million Americans have had the virus. That’s 10 times as many cases as has been confirmed.


What You Need To Know

  • Health experts estimate roughly 20 million Americans have had COVID-19

  • Estimate based on antibody tests, etc. 

  • Estimate represents about 6% of the U.S. population 

  • Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations surging in numerous states 


While 20 million infections sound like a lot, that only represents about 6 percent of the U.S. population, which is 331 million. In other words, the potential for further spread of the virus is vast.

“It’s clear that many individuals in this nation are still susceptible,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on a call with reporters Thursday. “Our best estimate right now is that for every case that was reported, there actually are 10 more infections.”

Health officials further said that contributing to the estimate is the fact that many Americans have been infected without knowing it and cases have been missed due to gaps in COVID-19 testing.

The estimate comes as numerous states are dealing with a dramatic uptick in coronavirus cases. In Texas, cases are up dramatically and the number of people hospitalized with the virus has more than doubled in the past two weeks. In response, Gov. Greg Abbott Thursday suspended elective surgeries in the state’s largest counties and paused further state economy reopening phases. Abbott on Friday made bars close again. Restaurants are permitted to operate at 50 percent occupancy. 



Mortality data has declined across the nation, however, and officials believe that 50 percent of new cases in Florida and Texas involve people under the age of 35 who are not displaying symptoms.

The U.S. is currently testing about 500,000 people per day. Experts have suggested that in order to prevent flareups and catch new cases, between 1 million and 3 million people should be tested every day.

In response to growing COVID-19 concern, the White House COVID-19 task force was scheduled to hold a press conference Friday, which marks the first such press conference in two months.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.