We all know that COVID-19 spreads from others who have the virus. A person catches the virus through droplets expelled when someone infected with coronavirus coughs, sneezes, or speaks. But what happens with asymptomatic COVID-19 patients? Can they spread the virus? The World Health Organization, in a recently released video, answers similar questions related to COVID-19 transmission.
Quick Jump Table
COVID-19 Transmission: An In-Depth Guide
The virus, COVID-19, is highly contagious and can be transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. It’s important to know how it spreads and what you can do if you’re exposed.
Coronavirus Transmission – Dr. Maria van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead, says that most transmission that is known till now is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets. “But, there is a subset of people of don’t develop symptoms. We still don’t have the answer to understand how many people don’t have symptoms,” she says.
What is Asymptomatic COVID Transmission?
Asymptomatic COVID-19 positive means a person has been tested positive but has no symptoms, and does not develop symptoms, says Dr. Kerkhove in the video. “Several people are reported asymptomatic, actually may have mild disease. They may develop symptoms. They may not quite register that they are sick. They can feel just a little unwell or under the weather, or fatigued. Some of those individuals we would classify as pre-symptomatic,” she adds. Pre-symptomatic COVID-19 positive means that a person has not yet developed symptoms.
Does Asymptomatic COVID People Can Spread Virus?
Viral shedding studies for some of the lab work show that there are people who are infected with COVID-19 can test positive one to three days before they develop symptoms. “This is something that has been known for some time now. We need to better understand what proportion is that contributing to transmission? This is one of the major unknowns,” says Dr. Kerkhove.
How Asymptomatic People can Spread the Virus?
Explaining how asymptomatic people can spread the virus, Dr. Mike Ryan, EXD, WHO Health Emergencies Programme says, “For instance, if someone is in a nightclub, trying to talk to someone, and its too noisy, and you are too close to them, it’s like you are projecting your voice at someone. In this situation, if the virus is present your upper respiratory mucosa, then there’s every likelihood that you can project the virus.”
Many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. “It is possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has just a mild cough and does not feel ill. Some reports have showed that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus. It is not yet known how often it happens. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the topic,” states the WHO website.
COVID-19 Transmission Rate
The last couple of days have been the highest number of daily cases in the world. So, in terms of pandemic generation, we are still very much on the up on the upward climb on this mountain, Dr. Ryan adds. “As some countries have shown, if you go at this with a comprehensive approach systematically, then there is enough stability for the virus.”
He adds that as a society; we have some choices to make. “If we can identify cases and their contacts, and we ask those contacts to quarantine themselves, we support them in that quarantine, then that can be a very successful way of both stopping the disease and avoiding large-scale lockdowns in the future,” Dr. Ryan adds. Watch the full video below.
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