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Thousands May Have Caught Virus: Leading Medical Centres Estimate Infection Rate Is Much Higher Than Stated

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THE COMBINED chart showing the predictions from the three organisations at IHME, ICL and LSHTM.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE true number of COVID-19 cases in the Bahamas is scores higher than the confirmed tally, according to three international research groups that have created separate epidemiological models of the virus.

One group estimated that on a single day in August when the country confirmed only double-digit numbers of cases, the actual number of infections was 14 times higher.

The models of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the Imperial College London (ICL) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) offer different estimates but reach the same conclusion: the number of COVID-19 cases far exceeds the confirmed number of cases.

The research groups have been influential to how policymakers have responded to the pandemic around the world. Their models consider confirmed cases, confirmed deaths and testing rates and they reflect a range of assumptions and epidemiological knowledge of researchers.

The models were collated by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication.

The data suggests the Bahamas was experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases far earlier than previously known. On March 22, for example, when the country confirmed just four cases of the virus, the ICL, a public research university in London, estimated there were 453 cases while the IHME, an independent global health research centre at the University of Washington, estimated there were 118 cases.

On August 10 in the middle of the second wave of COVID-19, the IHME and ICL estimated there were 666 and 210 cases respectively while the LSHTM estimated there were more than twice the confirmed number of infections.

Just recently, on September 21, the IHME and ICL estimated there were 236 and 195 infections, nearly four and three times the confirmed number of infections.

“Two things are clear from this chart: all models agree that true infections far outnumber confirmed cases,” wrote Oxford University and Our World in Data researcher Charlie Giattino. “But the models disagree by how much, and how infections have changed over time.”

“A key limitation in our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we do not know the true number of infections. Instead, we only know of infections that have been confirmed by a test – the confirmed cases. But because many infected people never get tested, we know that confirmed cases are only a fraction of true infections.”

The models do not give estimates of the cumulative number of infections per country.

While local health officials did not offer comment on these estimates up to press time yesterday, the Ministry of Health released data showing 119 COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,022.

The new cases include 103 in New Providence, nine in Abaco, four in Grand Bahama, two in Exuma and one in Andros.

The ministry confirmed four new deaths: an 86-year-old woman, a 50-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, all New Providence residents that died on September 28th; the death of a 53-year-old woman on September 23rd was also confirmed.

Ninety-five people have now died from COVID-19 according to the official statistics, with fifteen deaths under investigations.

One hundred people are now hospitalised.

Last night, the Ministry of Health reported 101 additional cases, pushing the COVID-19 toll to 4,123. Another death was also recorded after a 75-year-old man from New Providence died on September 29, bringing the confirmed death toll to 92.

Comments

whogothere 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Well dah?! General magnitude of increase x10... puts our IFR around .23% Right in line CDC best estimates of fatality. Essentially in the range of a severe flu season..or twice as bad as an average one... lives saved from 4 months of locked and cratering our economy? - likely none..

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bahamianson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

yup, state the obvious and call yourself an expert. Don't worry expert, if you have learned anything from March until now, it is that information, facts and statistics are changing daily.

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DWW 3 months, 2 weeks ago

well we 'flattened the curve' right? was that not the whole point? everyone will get it eventually anyway won't they?

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tribanon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

You obviously know nothing about what's been going on in our totally overwhelmed public healthcare system since July 1. Believe me, the flattened curve achieved while our borders were closed and Sands was minister of health became a very steep upward sloping curve shortly after our borders were pre-maturely re-opened by Minnis and D'Aguilar on July 1.

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whogothere 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Lol we never even had a curve! We 're weren't testing - we didn't haven't any tests in March through July, we were bumbling around in the dark, playing like we had pandemic crisis. So it looked like the lockdown was working, Team Minnis used that logic to justify draconian lockdowns from March through July and a power grab...all without understanding what was really going on - Blissful ignorance, the emperors new cloths...No we didn't flatten the curve, nor did we have first wave. We've had one wave and the virus will likely, slow down significantly as it approaches Herd Immunity Thresholds which are (contrary to what the MSM likes to report) closer to 20% - 30% depending population make up and density. Nassau likely has 30k+ cases. With population of 195k in NP we'll likely see confirmed cases go to 4k-5k before tinkering off like they have in Grand Bahamas. Anyway the whole point is - we could have avoided the larger national crisis that is brewing in education, Delayed diagnostics and treatments of other ailments, increased poverty as well as the increased national burden of debt that has now been hitched to the next generation of Bahamians... We could have kept our borders open, we could have simply required all travelers Bahamian or otherwise to do a pcr test before entry, we could have not lock-down our islands, we could have sent our kids to school, we could not destroyed the livelihoods of 10s of thousands of Bahamians; because at the end of the day as bad as COVID19 is, it is really not what it was chalked up to be.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Estimate. estimates, suggests, concludes.

The research groups have been influential to how policymakers have responded to the pandemic around the world. Their models consider confirmed cases, confirmed deaths and testing rates and they reflect a range of assumptions and epidemiological knowledge of researchers.s, estimate, suggests

While the number of cases may be questionable and estimated and inconclusive and uncertain, the number of deaths is certain and so are the number of hospitalizations. Hospitalizations are decreasing, and while there is a surge in deaths after the second lockdown and reopening, these are expected to taper off. But yes, there will be fatalities.

A local physician touts that the current way the country is dealing with the pandemic is much more appropriate and will eventually yield better results than the hard and complete lockdowns that attempt to shelter the population completely from the virus. But once the lockdown is ended, the virus may have mutated several times and the population is now more vulnerable to the disease. And he claims a pandemic is not just a medical crisis but also a social concern. Lockdowns create their own problems, causing inconvenience, stopping economic activity, creating national, business, and personal debt, creating loneliness and panic, and even suicide.

This Dr. suggests that a population should have limited exposure to the virus by exercising social distancing, wearing masks, regular handwashing, some curfews, and the suspension of some high-risk businesses and activities. Basically, those that draw large crowds and require close personal interaction. In addition to the health and safety measures, this Dr. also suggests strengthening of the immune system with supplements of vitamin D and Zinc. Local Bahamians still have limited access to beaches and it has been documented that direct sunlight helps in ridding the body of the coronavirus.

So. yes more persons will test positive for the virus, but at the same timeless people will become severely ill and require hospitalization. The limited exposure to the virus will allow most people to develop immunity to the virus. Individual immunity at this stage and not heard immunity at this stage. But as more people become exposed/infected with the virus the effects of herd immunity kicks in and the virus will eventually disappear because there are no 'new' bodies to infect.

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happyfly 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Hard to believe anyone is paying any attention to these lunatics at the Imperial College and their whack-job computer models. Maybe 666 had the covid ? Maybe 210 had it ? Just give me $2 mill. and I will make sure you get to be first in line to get the cure

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JokeyJack 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Many interesting comments here. Remember there was an order early on that false information about Covid would be a criminal act, so there is a great restriction therefore on what we can say here in comments legally. It is also important to remember that the larger event going on worldwide (yes, worldwide) is the current election cycle in the USA - and the true cogwheels involved there along with the Covid stuff are, as Speaker Newt Gingrich recently said, "Verboten." See him on Youtube with Harris Faulkner. Finally, don't be fooled by her apology which followed a few days later. It is also quite amazing that the coverage of the source of this virus is non-existent. People's minds have been programmed to ignore the source but yet somehow appear concerned at the same time.

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whogothere 3 months, 2 weeks ago

My brother the law you mention is interesting...others might call censorship. Some might call it a assault on the freedom of speech. One thing is for sure the Bahamas government should not have, nor does it have the credibility, nor the credentials Nor track record to truly discern what is false information and what is fact, least of all with something like COVID. In the mean time evidence based opinion is the standard we should respect, even it challenges the law and status quo or our own beliefs.

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rodentos 3 months, 2 weeks ago

because: covid is not that deadly as suggested. Death rates only seem high because the real infection rate is not known. In reality is very likely very close to flu virus. Assume there are about 50.000 cases in the Bahamas then the numbers sum up!

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The covid law about false information is not intended to suppress opinion, but to snuff out fake news.

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whogothere 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Who determines that? It’s well documented masks don t suppress infections. There is not yet one state or country with a mandate that have demonstrated their effectiveness...yet here we are...the law is worded such that it effectively gives the gov a monopoly on what is deemed to be truth...just sayin...

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