Family Healthcast: Are people without symptoms also less contagious?

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — With the return of college students to Central New York comes the fear that they will bring coronavirus with them. Our question is about the spread of COVID-19.

“We hear that young people who get the virus are less likely to feel sick. Are people without symptoms also less contagious?”

Recently, a study revealed that, unfortunately, the answer to that question is no.

Even asymptomatic people carry the virus in high amounts.

The study looked at a group of mostly young people who tested positive for the virus and were then isolated at a community center in South Korea.

Of the 300 patients, 190 had symptoms and 110 did not.

Doctors and nurses tracked their temperatures and other symptoms and tested their sputum — which indicates virus present in the lungs — as well as their noses and throats.

The patients without symptoms had just as much of the virus and almost just as long, making them unknowing spreaders of the virus.

The study estimates that 30 percent of infected people never develop symptoms. American health officials have put that number closer to 40 percent.

Whichever turns out to be the correct number, it is another great reason to wear a mask.


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