Special Report

This Group Is a Major Superspreader, According to Scientists

There have been 519,735 deaths (to date) from COVID-19 in America, about 20% of the world’s total. We’ve also recorded 28,936,161 confirmed cases, or about 25% of the global number. The pace at which COVID-19 is spreading in the United States has slowed, however. The rates of new daily cases and fatalities are half what they were seven weeks ago.  

More good news: The pace at which Americans are being vaccinated has improved. About 15% of the adult population have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Slightly below 8% have received two doses. According to the COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States page at the CDC website, 96,402,490 doses of vaccine have been delivered and 76,899,987 have been administered. This is the worst state for giving vaccine doses.

Variants of the virus have become a primary concern, as public health officials try to get Americans to continue to wear masks and social distance. The CDC currently tracks three variants, although there are more. Among those it tracks, variants have been discovered in 46 states.

Since the early days of the pandemic, the term “superspreader” has been added to our vocabulary. This can apply to either people or events. When groups have carelessly gathered by the hundreds or even thousands, this has triggered rises in cases and deaths. Groups aren’t the only problem, though. One of the most common types of superspreader is the person who’s asymptotic — who’s infected with the coronavirus but might not even realize it.

Here are some surprising facts about superspreaders.