Coronavirus pandemic | Research suggests asymptomatic people may be spreading Covid-19
This differs from unreported cases as majority of the countries have so far carried out tests for those showing symptoms
March 24, 2020 / 09:26 AM IST
Six in 10 people infected with the coronavirus may reportedly be asymptomatic — which means they do not yet display symptoms of the disease and are hence unaware they have it.
Several studies on the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have substantiated this finding, making scientists push for stringent social distancing measures, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported.
The spread, termed as community transmission, has given proof that many infected people have not had contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 but have still caught the virus, as per an article in the science journal Nature.
Head researcher Wu Tangchun, a public health expert at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, said at least 59 percent of infected individuals moved around without being tested and potentially infecting others. This also explains how the virus spread at such a large scale, he added.
This research used latest data of compiled clinical information from 26,000 laboratories which reported to the Wuhan health commission and raises questions on a February report by the World Health Organisation-China joint mission which noted that 'the proportion of truly asymptomatic infections is unclear but appears to be relatively rare and does not appear to be a major driver of transmission'. Follow all the updates here in our dedicated LIVE blog
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This differs from unreported cases as a majority of the countries have so far carried out tests for those showing symptoms. For example, Wuhan had as many as 37,000 asymptomatic people, who were under the radar, research showed.
Further supporting the findings, Iceland — which has tested more inhabitants than most countries, has found that half of those who tested positive were asymptomatic, the report added.
As many as 18 percent people from the 700
who tested positive aboard the Diamond Princess were also asymptomatic. Among the 565 Japanese nationals evacuated from Wuhan in February, 31 percent never developed symptoms but tested positive.