Only a tiny proportion of the global population, perhaps as few as 2 percent, appears to have antibodies showing they have been infected with COVID-19, the World Health Organization reports. The findings dent hopes that large numbers of asymptomatic carriers could soon impart herd immunity to the general population. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that testing to find out how large a proportion of the population had developed antibodies “suggests that a relatively small percentage of the populations may have been infected.” Some analyses, such as that of passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and another study in Iceland, had bolstered hopes that large numbers of people were asymptomatically carrying the disease. On Friday, a study by Stanford University found that 50 to 85 times more people had been infected with the virus than official figures showed, but even those high numbers translate to just a 3 percent infection rate.
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