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Estimated Disease Burden of COVID-19

Estimated Disease Burden of COVID-19

To better reflect the burden of COVID-19 – the full impact of the disease — CDC provides estimates of COVID-19 infections, symptomatic illnesses, and hospitalizations using a statistical model to adjust for cases that national surveillance networks are unable to capture for a number of reasons. These estimates and the methodology used to calculate them are published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available onlineexternal icon. These estimates will be updated periodically.

Estimated COVID-19 Infections, Symptomatic Illnesses, and Hospitalizations—United States

CDC estimates that from February 2020–March 2021:

1 in 1.8 (95% UI* 1.7 – 2.1) COVID–19 hospitalizations were reported
1 in 3.9 (95% UI* 3.5 – 4.4) COVID–19 symptomatic illnesses were reported
1 in 4.3 (95% UI* 3.7 – 5.0) total COVID–19 infections were reported

These estimates suggest that during that period, there were approximately:

114.6 Million

Estimated Total Infections

97.1 Million

Estimated Symptomatic Illnesses

5.6 Million

Estimated Hospitalizations

Last Updated: April 14, 2021

* Since the previous update, CDC has received additional data about the proportion of persons with symptomatic illness who seek medical attention or COVID-19 testing services, one of the sources of under-detection accounted for in these estimates. These updated data indicated higher levels of health-seeking behavior than data included in our previous estimates. The higher values of health-seeking behavior result in lower estimates of infections, symptomatic illnesses, and hospitalizations than previously reported. CDC will continue to update these preliminary estimates as additional data become available and improve our understanding of the detection and reporting of COVID-19..

Table 1: Preliminary Estimated COVID-19 Cumulative Incidence, by age group — United States, February-December 2020
Infections Symptomatic Illness Hospitalizations
Age group Estimate 95% UI* Estimate 95% UI* Estimate 95% UI*
0-4 yrs 4,466,773 3,640,856 – 5,603,223 3,811,216 3,238,789 – 4,568,978 50,030 40,862 – 61,134
5-17 yrs 22,203,414 12,209,186 –
17,452,081
18,929,814 16,037,674 – 22,755,339 141,611 111,674 – 178,368
18-49 yrs 55,616,991 46,355,840 – 67,031,661 47,402,926 41,781,099 – 54,104,814 1,338,235 1,133,895 – 1,590,638
50-64 yrs 19,685,301 16,501,914 – 23,681,510 16,778,695 14,831,745 – 19,123,545 1,430,340 1,258,736 – 1,638,294
65+ yrs 12,415,830 10,015,501 – 15,611,446 10,067,924 8,968,261 – 11,420,067 2,633,850 2,317,399 – 3,025,795
All ages 114,621,082 98,542,526 – 134,346,271 97,076,349 86,775,390 – 109,502,229 5,594,610 4,994,582 – 6,335,691

* Adjusted estimates and rates are presented in two parts: an uncertainty interval [UI] and a point estimate. The uncertainty interval provides a range in which the true number or rate of COVID-19 infections, symptomatic illnesses, or hospitalization would be expected to fall if the same study was repeated many times, and it gives an idea of the precision of the point estimate. A 95% uncertainty interval means that if the study were repeated 100 times, then 95 out of 100 times the uncertainty interval would contain the true point estimate. Conversely, in only 5 times out of a 100 would the uncertainty interval not contain the true point estimate.

Table 2: Estimated rates of COVID-19 disease outcomes, per 100,000, by age group — United States, February-December 2020
Infection rate per 100,000 Symptomatic Illness rate per 100,000 Hospitalization rate per 100,000
Age group Estimate 95% UI* Estimate 95% UI* Estimate 95% UI*
0-4 yrs 22,817 18,598 – 28,622 19,468 16,544 – 23,339 256 209 – 312
5-17 yrs 41,532 33,788 – 52,146 35,408 29,999 – 42,564 265 209 – 334
18-49 yrs 40,581 33,824 – 48,910 34,588 30,486 – 39,478 976 827 – 1,161
50-64 yrs 31,293 26,233 – 37,646 26,673 23,578 – 30,400 2,274 2,001 – 2,604
65+ yrs 22,967 18,527 – 28,879 18,624 16,590 – 21,125 4,872 4,287 – 5,597
All ages 35,047 30,130 – 41,078 29,682 26,533 – 33,482 1,711 1,527 – 1,937

* Adjusted estimates and rates are presented in two parts: an uncertainty interval [UI] and a point estimate. The uncertainty interval provides a range in which the true number or rate of COVID-19 infections, symptomatic illnesses, or hospitalization would be expected to fall if the same study was repeated many times, and it gives an idea of the precision of the point estimate. A 95% uncertainty interval means that if the study were repeated 100 times, then 95 out of 100 times the uncertainty interval would contain the true point estimate. Conversely, in only 5 times out of a 100 would the uncertainty interval not contain the true point estimate.

Percentage of COVID-19 infections, symptomatic illness, and hospitalizations by age group