Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that there is still no evidence to prove that individuals positive for the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19 but are asymptomatic can infect other people, as he quoted the World Health Organization (WHO). Duque made the comment in a Senate hearing on the novel coronavirus pandemic after he was asked about the strategies of Department of Health in detecting people who don’ manifest symptoms or “silent spreaders” of this deadly respiratory disease.
In a report, the WHO said that to date, there have been no reports of asymptomatic transmission. This does not exclude the chances that it may transmit. Asymptomatic cases have been reported in some countries as part of contact tracing efforts. Meanwhile, the study by Chinese researchers found that pre-symptomatic carriers of COVID-19 can contaminate other people and their environments. But, Duque said that it is very difficult to detect asymptomatic coronavirus carriers. He explained that local authorities have been entrusted with monitoring people suffering from a severe acute respiratory infection and influenza-like illness.
Everyone is on guard against the droplets that come out from a coronavirus infected patient’s sneeze or cough. This is the reason why public health officials urged people to wear facemasks. The novel coronavirus can also spread through normal exhalations that carry tiny droplets containing the coronavirus. A regular breath may also spread this highly contagious virus several feet or more. It could also spread from fomites – surfaces, such as a grocery cart handle or a doorknob, that are contaminated with the virus by the touch of an infected person.
If you’ve been exposed to someone infected with the novel coronavirus, then no matter what you should self-quarantine for the entire 14-day incubation period. Even if you are fine, you’re still at great risk of spreading the deadly coronavirus to other people. Most recently it has been demonstrated that high levels of the coronavirus are present in respiratory secretions during the “presymptomatic” period that may last days to more than a week before the cough and fever symptoms of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This ability of the novel coronavirus to be transmitted by asymptomatic carriers is a major reason for the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Washington, many residents became infected in a nursing home. Twenty-three people tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Ten of them were already sick and eventually, ten more people also developed symptoms. But three of the individuals who tested positive had not complained about any symptoms of the illness.
In Boston, doctors tested 397 people who were staying at a homeless shelter and found that 36% of them tested positive for the novel coronavirus and none of them had experienced any symptoms. Similarly, the case of Japanese citizens who were evacuated from Wuhan and tested for the novel coronavirus, 30% of those infected people were asymptomatic.
An Italian study that has not yet been peer-reviewed revealed that 43% of those who tested positive for coronavirus illness showed no symptoms. The researchers found no difference in how potentially contagious individuals with and without symptoms were, based on the titer of the virus in the samples of the infected people. The antibody serosurveys conducted in different parts of the country add further evidence that the good number (around 10% to 40%) of the infected people might not experience any symptoms. Asymptomatic coronavirus infection appears to be common and this will continue complicating the efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic.