A statewide study estimates that at least 2.8% of
Indiana’s population has been infected by the coronavirus, a rate about 10
times that shown by previous testing, Indiana University researchers said
officials announced some city business restrictions will start being eased
on Friday after similar limits being lifted last week around most other
parts of the state. Those steps come as Indiana’s death toll from confirmed
or probable COVID-19 illnesses has grown past 1,600 people.
The testing of
about 4,600 people at random around the state found 1.7% were infected at
the time of the test and 1.1% tested positive for antibodies showing they
were previously exposed. The tests were done by IU’s Fairbanks School of
Public Health over a week ending May 1.
project that Indiana has seen a 0.58% fatality rate among those infected.
That rate is almost six times greater than the death rate for seasonal flu,
said Nir Menachemi, a professor who led the study.
Nearly 45% of those
infected reported experiencing no symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory
disease. Menachemi said that highlighted the need for people to practice
social distancing and wear masks in public to avoid unknowingly spreading
“The needs to
minimize the risk of infection spread will probably not go away until we
have a vaccine or a really good treatment that can deal with everyone
infected,” Menachemi said.
A statewide order
from Gov. Eric Holcomb started lifting many business and travel restrictions
starting May 4.
Menachemi said the
IU researchers plan a new round of random testing in early June that will
look for any increased coronavirus spread connected with the state’s
“We’ll get the
first glimpse of how the relaxing of some of the issues have impacted the
population,” he said.
infection rate would mean about 186,000 Indiana residents had the
coronavirus by the end of April, when the state health department reported
fewer than 19,000 confirmed infections. The agency reported nearly 25,500
infections as of Wednesday.
For most people,
the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough
that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and
people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness,
including pneumonia and death.
Joe Hogsett announced Wednesday that Indiana’s largest city will begin
easing its pandemic restrictions starting Friday after health tracking data
showed the city was ready to enter “a path toward reopening, incrementally,
our local economy.”
Public gatherings Ń
including religious services Ń will be permitted to increase from the
county’s current 10-person limit to 25, and nonessential retail stores,
including liquor stores, can begin opening to the public at 50 percent
The mayor said that
starting May 22, the city will allow in-person dining to resume at
restaurants but only for outdoor seating “and with strict social-distancing
guidelines” and required masks for restaurant workers. However, indoor
restaurant dining will continue to not be permitted.
restrictions have remained in Indianapolis, northwestern Indiana’s Lake
County and rural northern Indiana’s Cass County, where a large coronavirus
outbreak infected hundreds of Tyson meatpacking plant workers.
Hogsett said that
if the trajectory of coronavirus cases “continues to stabilize and hopefully
decline” more city restrictions could be lifted by June 1.