Late January reports said the novel coronavirus was circulating before symptoms began. This was then a disturbing notion. There were fewer than 3,000 confirmed cases back then and most of them were located in China. Nearly 25,000 cases were reported less than a week later, but health authorities said that transmission of the virus was not likely until symptoms emerged. We have nearly one million cases in the world, fast-forwarded to the present-day, and the death rate is approaching 50,000. And the CDC has just released a report that says patients with pre-symptomatic COVID-19 will spread the disease.
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The new research looked at 243 cases of Singapore-born COVID-19 cases reported from January 23 to March 16. The researchers identified seven clusters of cases in which “presymptomatic transmission is the most likely reason for secondary case incidence.”
We already knew that many COVID-19 patients won’t even show symptoms, and their immune system will fight the infection without support. Yet these individuals are still contagious and will transmit the disease to those around them. That’s why it’s important for most people to stay indoors for longer periods, to reduce the transmission risk. The new research suggests that all patients, whether or not they are showing COVID-19 signs, could be infecting others long before they believe they have the disease.
The study advises medical professionals to take into account the potential for presymptomatic transmission when attempting to track the infection. “To compensate for the likelihood of pre-symptomatic transmission, public health officials performing contact tracing should strongly consider adding time before symptom onset,” the study states.
The result further strengthens the belief that effective social distancing steps to reduce the spread of the virus should be implemented. The longer we live indoors, the greater our immune system’s chances of destroying the novel coronavirus. If you have symptoms, contact your doctor and follow instructions. You may be told to stay at home under observation, or you may be taken to a hospital, depending on how the COVID-19 case progresses further.