Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton grabbed headlines on Thursday when she claimed there could possibly be more than 100,000 active coronavirus cases in The Buckeye State.
"We know now, just the fact of community spread, says that at least 1 percent, at the very least, 1 percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today," Acton said. "We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly."
However, the top Ohio health official now admits her claim was not based in science.
"I am not saying there are absolutely for certain 100,000 people. I'm saying I'm guesstimating. If I'm guesstimating community spread, that's my best number," she said Friday, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
Dr. Trevor Bedford, a scientist who specializes in vaccines and infectious diseases, pushed back against Acton's claim.
Bedford wrote in a Twitter response that he doubts Ohio has more than 100,000 coronavirus cases because the state has not seen a significant number of critical hospitalizations or deaths, whereas Wuhan — the epicenter of the disease outbreak — did when it reached an estimated 100,000 infections.
Another way to look at this is that it took the virus from ~Nov 1 to Feb 1 to reach 100k infections in Wuhan. This… https://t.co/LkEUiEcHvk— Trevor Bedford (@Trevor Bedford)1584066456.0
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that officials have no idea how many active coronavirus cases there are in the U.S.
However, it is difficult to know the exact number of infections given community spread, asymptomatic carriers, and inefficient testing.
As of Saturday morning, there are more than 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with more than 40 deaths.