Preliminary results from a scientific study aimed at measuring the spread of the novel coronavirus in Indiana show a general population prevalence of about 2.8 percent of the state’s population. Researchers tested more than 4,600 Hoosiers between April 25 and May 1 for viral infections and antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This number includes more than 3,600 people who were randomly selected and an additional 900 volunteers recruited through outreach to the African American and Hispanic communities to more accurately represent state demographics.
Researchers determined that during the last week in April, 1.7 percent of participants tested positive for the novel coronavirus and an additional 1.1 percent tested positive for antibodies—bringing the estimated population prevalence of the virus in the state to 2.8 percent, or approximately 186,000 Hoosiers who were actively or previously infected as of May 1. As of the same date, the state’s testing showed about 17,000 cumulative cases—not including deaths—suggesting that only about one out of every 11 true infections were identified by tests focused on symptomatic or high-risk people. IUPUI scientists estimate the infection-fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in Indiana to be 0.58 percent, making it almost six times more deadly than the seasonal flu, which has an infection-fatality rate of 0.1, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nir Menachemi, lead scientist on the study, said the research team also found that almost 45 percent of people who tested positive for active viral infection reported no symptoms at all. The scientists also identified certain communities that have been more affected by COVID-19 than others.