Research University of Antwerp: “Already 800,000 Belgians had …

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Epidemiologist Pierre Van Damme led the study.
Photo: Jan Van der Perre

800,000 Belgians have already been infected with COVID-19 in recent months. That is twelve times higher than the official figures. This is evident from a study by the University of Antwerp, about which De Morgen reports on Saturday.


The University of Antwerp has been carrying out analyzes on thousands of blood samples since the end of March and has determined that at least 7 percent of the population has been infected. Converted that is about 782,000 people. The researchers write this in a paper that was published in advance on Friday. “Our analysis may be an underestimate,” says epidemiology professor Pierre Van Damme, who led the study with colleague Heidi Theeten.

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They speak of more than 800,000 infections. The official figures speak of 68,000 confirmed infections. According to the researchers, it shows how many people subconsciously carry the virus. “We clearly miss a lot of infected cases.”

“We have searched globally and randomly for antibodies in our research, but in Belgian hotbeds the figures may exceed the 7 percent that we discovered,” says Van Damme.

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