Why more testing doesn’t explain rise in COVID hotspots

Almost since COVID-19 was first recognized by public health experts, teams like that at Johns Hopkins University have done heroic work to gather and harmonize information from dozens of sources every day in order to make sense of the pandemic’s spread.

Despite their best efforts, these numbers were not a certainty, especially as reliable tests for the virus in the early days were limited in many places due to slow and error-plagued rollouts.

That led many to speculate that the actual number of infections was much higher than it seemed on paper; early research suggested (and has since been largely confirmed) that the virus could infect a person and then move on to another carrier while causing only mild symptoms - and in some cases, none at all.

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