COVID-19: Asymptomatic Patients are 10x More Infectious – Study

As this virus known as corona (Covid-19) is seen to cross boarders faster than expected, with its deadly impact, everyone is now on guide as to what symptoms it bears, be them mild or severe.

Corona virus is very good at infecting people. However, the virus can also be asymptomatic, causing no noticeable illness in some people. Such cases were first recognized in China in January (Science China Life Sciences, doi.org/dqbn), but it wasn’t known how common they were.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the symptoms of corona virus usually include;

  • A temperature
  • A dry cough
  • Tiredness/lethargy
  • Shortness of breath (in more severe cases)

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea, the WHO adds. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.

We know that coughs and sneezes spread the virus, so how is it possible for asymptomatic people to spread the infection?

People with mild or no symptoms can have a very high viral load in their upper respiratory tracts, meaning they can shed the virus through spitting, touching their mouths or noses and then a surface or possibly talking. Even people who don’t feel ill occasionally cough or sneeze.

Once symptoms develop a person’s viral load declines steadily, and they become increasingly less infectious. However, people appear to keep shedding the virus for around two weeks after they recover from covid-19, both in their saliva and stools.

This means that even once a person’s symptoms have cleared, it may still be possible to infect other people.

What all this makes clear is that advising only people with cough or fever and their families to self-isolate won’t prevent the corona virus from spreading, thanks to its fiendish ability to cause very mild symptoms in people and to peak in infectiousness before people even realize they are sick.

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