Novel Coronavirus Reportedly Spreads Without Symptoms

Health authorities and doctors have been encouraging people to keep monitoring the early symptoms of COVID-19 for faster diagnosis and to prevent transmission. But researchers have found that those who were infected by the novel coronavirus can also spread the disease even without symptoms. 

The team at the University of Texas at Austin created a new model that mapped how COVID-19 spreads across communities. Researchers said more than 10 percent of COVID-19 cases potentially came from pre-symptomatic people, NY1 reported Tuesday.

The model used data from more than 450 infection case reports from 93 cities in China. One report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February, showed four family members contracted the coronavirus from a 20-year-old relative who did not develop symptoms.  

The latest case of transmission from an asymptomatic patient was reported in early March. Researchers in Singapore found that a 17-year-old boy remained positive for COVID-19 for two weeks but did not experience symptoms after a trip to Wuhan, China. 

Government officials previously slammed claims that people without symptoms of COVID-19 could infect others. 

“There is no indication that the asymptomatic people are responsible for this explosion worldwide,” NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot announced on Sunday.

But to Scott Braithwaite, an expert in computer simulation at New York University, the UT Austin researchers made an alarming discovery. He said the study highlights the importance of social distancing and early testing for COVID-19. 

The UT Austin study estimates that it usually takes four days before infected people show symptoms of the coronavirus infection. 

“It’s not too late,” Braithwaite said of considering tests for coronavirus. “What we do now will make a giant difference.”

His team at the Population Health Department in New York University is also developing models on the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to report a growing number of people with COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world. Latest data shows that there are now a total of 179,112 confirmed cases worldwide and 7,426 deaths linked to the disease. 

Coronavirus The 2019-nCoV, a new type of coronavirus, was first discovered at a small animal and seafood market in the city of Wuhan in China. Pixabay