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Can Asymptomatic People Spread the Corona Virus? What we currently know



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Knowing that asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 can spread the virus, wearing masks is more important than ever.

James Martin / CNET

For the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The World Health Organization instigated a backlash from public health officials during a press conference on June 8 when Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical director for the COVID-19 Answer said, it is “very rare” for asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 to spread the virus. The explanation came after Kerhove said that they “follow contacts and no longer find a secondary transmission” in countries that pursue asymptomatic cases.

A day later, the WHO tracked and specified the statement, with Kerkhove finding that WHO “does not yet have the answer” as to whether and how often asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 spread the virus.

Now many people are confused as to whether asymptomatic carriers can or not spread COVID-19 – but the question is not really about it. It is safe to assume that asymptomatic carriers can spread the disease based on early and ongoing studies on the nature of COVID-19.

The bigger question is about how contagious These cases really are – especially now that the United States sees one massive increase in cases relaxed after lockdown restrictions.

Keep in mind that information about the novel corona virus is changing rapidly: we will be with new facts every day. This article explains the concept of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases at the time of writing. We will update this story as more information becomes available.






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What it means to be an asymptomatic carrier

If you are an asymptomatic carrier of a disease, it means that you are suffering from the disease but do not show any Symptoms.

In the case of COVID-19, this can pose a serious threat due to the way this virus spreads: people who do not know that they have the virus may not stay at home or take precautions such as: wear a mask or stay six feet apart from others if they leave their houses.

There is a lot of confusion as to what “asymptomatic” really means – some of it stems from a lack of data on COVID-19 asymptomatic carriers, but much of it comes from the many different uses of the word “asymptomatic”.

Humans can become infected with the novel corona virus and be really asymptomatic – which means that the virus infects them and progresses without ever causing symptoms.

Then there are people who are “presymptomatic”, which refers to the period between infection and the appearance of symptoms. Many viruses are contagious in pre-symptomatic phases, and we know that this is true for COVID-19.

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Whole Foods, June 2020. The reopening phases have prompted businesses to take additional precautions such as: B. Limiting cash payments.

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Someone can be presymptomatic for several days, if not self-insulating During the presymptomatic phase (which, of course, is not the focus), they could have passed the virus on to anyone they came into close contact with.

Finally, there are mild cases of COVID-19 in which an infected person may show acute symptoms such as a mild cough, mild body pain, or other symptoms typical of the common cold. These people may never know that they have COVID-19 because their symptoms are not severe enough to warrant a test and they are never diagnosed.

People with mild cases may not feel sick enough to stay home from work or avoid errands. After all, life doesn’t stop because of a cold – before the pandemic, despite a mild cold, it was fairly common to do your daily chores, and many people still work with this attitude.

“Asymptomatic” has been used to describe all of the above scenarios, which is not helpful in determining whether the asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 is significant or not.

Can Asymptomatic People Spread COVID-19?

In general, asymptomatic people can spread their disease. This probably also applies to the novel coronavirus, although the officials do not yet know how often COVID-19 is spread by asymptomatic carriers.

Studies have shown that people can be contagious for the first few days after the virus appears before showing symptoms. One study actually estimated that more than 40% of novel coronavirus cases were transmitted in the presymptomatic phase. In a study that analyzed samples from seafarers on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, about 20% of those infected said they never developed symptoms.

A CDC survey reports that 54% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 couldn’t remember how they got it. The remaining 46% of respondents who tested positive said they did so close contact with someone who was sicklike a family member before they developed the disease.

This indicates that the majority of people could have got COVID-19 from an asymptomatic person they were in close contact with or from a symptomatic passer-by like someone who coughed in a grocery store near you.

The report concludes by stating that this ambiguity “underscores the need to isolate infected people, to track and review contacts during ongoing community transmission, and to take preventive measures, including social distancing and the use of fabric facewear.”

So it is clear that people can get the disease, but remain asymptomatic. It is also clear that people who develop symptoms may be able to spread the virus before they know they have it.

How many people with coronavirus are asymptomatic?

Estimates of the percentage of cases of asymptomatic coronavirus vary widely. Experts have estimated that between 25% and 80% of people with COVID-19 never develop symptoms. Here is a look at some research results on asymptomatic COVID-19:

  • As early as January 2020, the researchers found that presymptomatic transmission could probably explain secondary cases of COVID-19.
  • In April 2020, the researchers suggested that the virus was most contagious before or at the onset of symptoms.
  • A May 27 study in the Journal of American Medicine reported that more than 40% of the study participants who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic.
  • Another study found that 104 out of 128 (81%) positive cases on a cruise ship showed no symptoms.
  • In New Orleans, Louisiana, a study conducted by a city hospital system found that 75% of infectious people were asymptomatic.

Why are these results important?

If people have COVID-19 and don’t know it, it is They are unlikely to take maximum precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.

Some officials have raised concerns that WHO’s original statement that asymptomatic spread is “very rare” is discouraged Wearing masks and social distancingThis could significantly worsen the spread of COVID-19 if asymptomatic individuals can easily transmit the virus. For this reason, many experts argue that it makes sense to assume that asymptomatic spread is a threat.

How does COVID-19 spread?

As a quick reminder, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads through breath droplets such as saliva and mucus. This means that it mainly spreads when people cough, sneeze and speak with the virus in the presence of other people. Direct contact with sick people also spreads the virus.

It is also possible for COVID-19 to spread when people touch surfaces on which the SARS-CoV-2 virus is located, although the CDC says that this is not the main mode of transmission.

According to the CDC, RNA from the virus has been detected in other body fluids and by-products such as blood and stool, but experts don’t yet know whether COVID-19 can spread through these substances.

The best way around prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice good personal hygiene (e.g. Wash your hands often), stay home when you can (and definitely when you are sick), Wear a face covering When you go out, avoid contact with other sick people.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about an illness or health goals.




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