Some coronavirus news developing in Ohio over the weekend could bear on asymptomatic infection rates and the extent of herd immunity.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) has recently conducted mass testing of prisoners regardless of symptoms. This has led to a huge spike in reported positive cases in Ohio with an official “onset date” of last Friday, April 16:
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC), mass testing has been instituted at Marion Correctional, as well as Pickaway Correctional and the Franklin Medical Center.
“Because we are testing everyone – including those who are not showing symptoms – we are getting positive test results on individuals who otherwise would have never been tested because they were asymptomatic,” ODRC said in its daily release of information.
Throughout Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction facilities, 2,400 inmates have tested positive and 637 have tested negative.
So that’s truly remarkable. In practically a worst-case situation where social distancing is minimal, around 80% of the inmates tested positive and yet the majority do not exhibit symptoms. There have been no prisoner deaths reported at Marion Correctional.
Ohio governor Mike Dewine cautioned, “I want Ohioans to know that these numbers do not necessarily indicate a new problem at these facilities, but simply wider testing.”
The ages in the April 16 spike in cases break down as follows:
| age | cases |
| 0-19 | 16 |
| 20-29 | 328 |
| 30-39 | 416 |
| 40-49 | 417 |
| 50-59 | 307 |
| 60-69 | 194 |
| 70-79 | 89 |
| 80+ | 69 |
That’s roughly consistent with prison demographics.
Random testing programs are now being launched in several US locales, using pcr and antibody tests. Will they also show large numbers of asymptomatic infection?