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COVID-19 likely lingered longer than reported in Wuhan: study

The total IgG and IgM antibody positive rate of SARS-CoV-2 in Hubei Province and other provinces with sample size >300 persons in mainland China. Asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, and China Credit: Duan S, et al. (2021) (CC-BY 2.0)

Wuhan City in China was the first place to report COVID-19 in the world and—between December 2019 and May 2020—caused nearly two-thirds of all COVID-19 cases in China. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have tested more than 60,000 healthy individuals in China for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and concluded that thousands of Wuhan residents were infected with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 after the infection was believed to be under control in China.

Rapid antibody tests are used to diagnosis present and past infections with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19; positive IgG antibodies suggests a previous while IgM antibodies mean a current or recent infection. Detection of both types of antibodies can give a better understanding of the number of asymptomatic infections in a population over time. In Wuhan, the number of COVID-19 cases peaked in February 2020 and the city was initially declared to be free of disease in late April, although small clusters of cases appeared in later months.

In the new work, Xue-jie Yu of Wuhan University, China, and colleagues studied the prevalence of IgG and IgM antibodies in blood samples collected between March 6 and May 3, 2020, from 63,107 individuals in China. All people tested were healthy and were undergoing screening before returning to work.

Consistent with a large number of cases having occurred in Wuhan, the percentage of people with positive SARS-CoV-2 , about 1.68%, was significantly higher than in other regions of China, where antibody positivity averaged 0.38%. Moreover, according to the IgM positive rate of 0.46%

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Cheryll Plunkett never stops fighting

Cheryll Plunkett of Medway, Massachusetts, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2015.

I was diagnosed in 2002, 13 months after my second child was born. I was 34. The tumor was a pretty good size, and my lymph nodes were involved. I had a mastectomy of my left breast, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. I tolerated the medicines pretty well. I had hair loss and fatigue, but no nausea or bad side effects. They told me I shouldn’t have any more kids because my cancer was hormone positive, so I had a total hysterectomy to alleviate as much estrogen as possible.

For my poor husband, who was 29 at the time, imagine having a 1-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a wife with breast cancer. But he was wonderful and so was my whole amazing family, who helped with everything. I focused on having a positive attitude, working, and raising my children, and the years went by. I just assumed, pretty ignorantly, that you just get rid of this and life goes on.

“I focus on being positive. In my opinion, a positive attitude goes a long way in getting through this.”

– Cheryll Plunkett

But then in 2015, I had this cough that wouldn’t go away. I thought maybe it was allergies or acid reflux, but my primary care doctor did tests and couldn’t find the cause. So, I reached out to my oncologist, and he said to come in for some blood tests. Then he sent me for a scan. And then—I will never forget this—he called to tell me that I had metastatic breast cancer and I didn’t even understand what that meant.

My doctor put me on Ibrance, which had just been FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved for advanced