Health official says majority of Americans “remain susceptible” to COVID-19

Makeshift Hospital
Photo taken on Aug. 1, 2020 shows the interior of a makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients at the AsiaWorld-Expo, a venue near the Hong Kong International Airport, in south China's Hong Kong. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu)

Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said on Wednesday that a majority of Americans remain susceptible to COVID-19.

“CDC is in the process of a very large, sequential study across the entire United States, measuring serology,” Redfield told the Senate Health Committee during a hearing. “The preliminary results on the first round show that a majority of our nation – more than 90% of the population – remains susceptible.”

“It varies in different geographic parts from states,” he said. “But it does show that a majority of Americans are still susceptible to this virus,” said Redfield.

The remarks came a day after the United States reached over 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, with nearly 7 million infections, both the highest in the world.

Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, also attended the hearing and warned of the long-term effects that disease might have on those infected.

Fauci noted that a recent study in non-athletes who have recovered from the virus showed that in their MRIs “they found that about 60 to 70% of them had indication of inflammatory disease in the heart.”

“They could wind up when you have inflammation, you could have scarring, that could lead to arrhythmias later on, or that could lead to cardiomyopathies,” he said. “It’s something we really need to keep our eye out on.”

Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, also testified at the hearing.

U.S. President Donald Trump has called the country hitting 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 “a shame.” He has also sought to defend his administration’s response to the pandemic, which has been under sharp criticism.

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