Antibody survey reveals ‘widespread vulnerability’ to COVID-19 across Canada, expert says

People walk through Old Montreal, on July 22, 2020. An overwhelming majority of Canadians remain just as susceptible to the coronavirus as ever. Ryan Remiorz/ The Canadian Press

(Ivan Demeniuk/ Globe and Mail) — Fewer than 1 per cent of Canadians have had the virus that causes COVID-19, according to initial findings from the largest serological survey conducted to date across the country.

The results, released Thursday, are based on 10,000 anonymized blood donations. They offer the best glimpse so far at the extent of the disease beyond the official count of confirmed cases, which now stands at just more than 112,000. The actual number of cases could be three times that, although sample size and testing uncertainties mean it is not yet possible to make a more precise estimate.

What is clear is that an overwhelming majority of Canadians remain just as susceptible to the virus as ever, even as provinces continue to lift restrictions and people resume activities that may bring them into closer and more frequent contact with others.

“What we have here is very strong evidence of widespread vulnerability. That means we can’t let our guard down,” said David Naylor, who co-chairs Canada’s immunity task force. (…)

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