October 10th, 2020

herd immunity may be implicated

Fatality rates related to COVID-19 in Japan have been low compared to Western Countries and have decreased despite the absence of lockdown. Serological tests monitored across the course of the second wave can provide insights into the population-level prevalence and dynamic patterns of COVID-19 infection.


Six hundred fifteen healthy volunteers <...> received at least one test. Seroprevalence increased from 5.8 % to 46.8 % over the course of the summer. The most dramatic increase in SPR occurred in late June and early July, paralleling the rise in daily confirmed cases within Tokyo, which peaked on August 4. Out of the 350 individuals <...>who completed both offered tests, 21.4 % of those individuals who tested seronegative became seropositive and seroreversion was found in 12.2 % of initially seropositive participants. 81.1% of IgM positive cases at first testing became IgM negative in approximately one month.

Conclusions and Relevance: COVID-19 infection may have spread widely across the general population of Tokyo despite the very low fatality rate. Given the temporal correlation between the rise in seropositivity and the decrease in reported COVID-19 cases that occurred without a shut-down, herd immunity may be implicated.