Over 3 million people in the United States are actively infected with COVID-19 and are potentially contagious, a figure significantly higher than the official tally, a recent study by U.S. infectious disease experts showed.

A model conducted by the team of Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist from Columbia University, estimated that 3.6 million people in the country have active coronavirus infections, and are capable of passing enough virus to infect others.

The official count solely based its data on people who have tested positive for COVID-19. However, there are huge amounts of asymptomatic people walking around without knowing they are infectious.

“It’s bad; it’s really, really bad,” said Shaman, an expert on infectious disease transmission and forecast, adding that the upcoming Thanksgiving Day celebrations will likely worsen the spread of the virus.

“We’re going to go through a lot of people being infected between now and the end of the year, unfortunately,” he said.

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