BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One in ten bodies that had forensic autopsies performed on them in Maryland in late May and June had COVID-19 antibodies, a higher rate than expected, according to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Higher-Than-Expected 10% Of Bodies That Had Autopsies Performed In Maryland In June Had COVID-19 Antibodies, Johns Hopkins Study Finds

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The study, published this month in Open Forum Infectious Diseases, looked at 500 bodies that had autopsies conducted between May 24 and June 30 and found 50 of them had the antibodies. Around 120 additional bodies were examined but did not have enough whole blood specimen to be included.

Studying antibody prevalence can help researchers learn more about how the virus is spreading.


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There was a nearly four-fold increase in Hispanic men who had the antibodies compared to white people but no difference in antibody prevalence among Black people, the study found. The authors wrote that while those who died may have different lifestyles than the general population, the results reflect similar patterns of COVID-19 cases in the state.

In addition, vehicle crash victims had around the same rate of antibodies as those who died from natural causes. Those who died from accidental drug overdoses had a 71% decrease in antibody prevalence.

Those who died by homicide and suicide also had lower but not statistically significant antibody prevalence rates, the study found.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff