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CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 likely to have infected 90% of Taiwan's population: CDC

01/23/2024 07:51 PM
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Commuters ride the metro in Kaohsiung in masks to prevent from getting sick in this CNA file photo.
Commuters ride the metro in Kaohsiung in masks to prevent from getting sick in this CNA file photo.

Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) At least 90 percent of Taiwan's population has likely contracted COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday, citing a seroprevalence study last year that looked into the prevalence of the disease and the recent spike in cases.

The CDC, which tested 7,000 randomly selected blood donation samples collected in Taiwan between January and June, found that nearly 80 percent came from people who had contracted COVID-19, CDC Deputy Director General Lo Yi-chun (羅一鈞) said in a weekly briefing.

Considering the recent rise in COVID-19 cases -- which had eased before starting to spike again at the beginning of this year-- around 90 percent of the population has likely been infected, he said.

The CDC explained that the study, which was conducted per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, tested for a neutralizing antibody the body produces following COVID-19 exposure.

The positivity rate for the antibody increased from 61.5 percent to 78.9 percent between January and June 2023, the CDC said.

Particularly noteworthy were the significant increases observed from January to February (61.5 percent to 65.1 percent) and from May to June (69.4 percent to 78.9 percent), which aligned with the peaks of the third and fourth waves of COVID-19, according to the agency.

The CDC added that as of the end of June, positivity rates were highest in the 17-24 age group (83.70 percent), followed by the 25-34 age group (80.8 percent), the 35-44 age group (80.4 percent), the 45-54 age group (76.8 percent), and the 55-65 age group (75.5 percent).

Due to the rapid evolution and strong transmissibility of the virus, prior infection does not guarantee lifelong immunity, CDC officials said, urging the public to take the latest XBB.1.5 vaccine for enhanced protection.

(By Tseng Yi-ning and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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