Part of what makes the coronavirus so highly contagious is its sneaky, asymptomatic incubation period. Until recently, the rule of thumb was that most cases occurred between one and 14 days after exposure, with most cases showing symptoms sometime around the fourth or fifth day. But a new study was published in the journal Advances in science found that patients may remain asymptomatic longer than previously thought. It turns out that patients are most likely to show their first symptoms around day eight.
;. For more information about the spread of COVID-19, see 13 Precautions You Should Take Every Day To Prevent Coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the first case of an animal test positive for the coronavirus occurred at a New York City zoo. The CDC believes that a tiger tested after showing symptoms of a respiratory disease was infected by a zoo worker, and notes that human-to-animal spread can occur “in certain situations”. For more information about the spread of COVID-19, see 13 Precautions You Should Take Every Day To Prevent Coronavirus.
While only 10 percent of infected subjects remained asymptomatic for 14 days, the researchers found that the median incubation time was 7.75 days, three to four days later than most previous estimates.
Of course, understanding the incubation period of COVID can make a huge difference in whether we successfully contain the virus. “By providing health authorities with a potentially more accurate number for the incubation period, the results could provide guidance for containment efforts such as quarantines and studies to study the transmission of the disease,” the researchers said in a press release.
The new study is likely to be more accurate than previous incubation studies because this analysis used the largest patient sample to date. The researchers noted that “the few four to five day estimates available were based on small sample sizes, limited data, and self-reports that could be skewed by the patient’s or interviewer’s memory or judgment.” Instead, this study relied on public databases that recorded the infection data in an attempt to remove recall bias.
Finally, the researchers came to another surprising result: We may have underestimated the total incubation period of 14 days. The team found that there was a five to ten percent chance of doing this. This means that sick people can put others at risk by ending their quarantines too early. For this reason, it is advisable to exercise caution as the virus continues to develop: if you suspect exposure, do not wait for symptoms to be confirmed. When or if they come does not affect your ability to spread coronavirus. If you want to learn more about asymptomatic cases, find out why 80 percent of people in this age group are asymptomatic.
Gallery: 5 Weird New COVID Symptoms That Doctors Are Reporting (Best Life)
5 strange new COVID symptoms that doctors are reporting