Coronavirus

The COVID-19 Virus Can’t Measure

Asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus appears to be worse than SARS or influenza, according to a report by MarketWatch.

A few notable sections are below.

Asymptomatic transmission “is the Achilles’ heel of COVID-19 pandemic control through the public-health strategies we have currently deployed,” according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco published May 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Symptom-based screening has utility, but epidemiologic evaluations of COVID-19 outbreaks within skilled nursing facilities … strongly demonstrate that our current approaches are inadequate,” researchers Monica Gandhi, Deborah Yokoe and Diane Havlir wrote.

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Some experts say masks aren’t all that effective.

“Unless you’re wearing a PAPR, a self-enclosed breathing unit, there’s no such thing as safe,” Poland said. “They’re so-called space suits. The only thing you can be is safer. You can’t be 100% safe with social distancing and face masks.”

“All of these things together form a web of interventions to protect you. You wouldn’t get into a car without seat belts, breaks, tires, air bags. You would not be happy with any one of those things. So too with the so-called non-pharmaceutical interventions.”

Poland added, “I’m worried that people who have the antibodies or get the vaccine will have a get-out-of-jail free card. This virus has very peculiar immunological secrets wrapped up inside it. We’re still learning about influenza and we’ve been working on that since the 1940s.”

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The report also says there needs to be a comprehensive system of contract tracing.

“Asymptomatic transmission enhances the need to scale up the capacity for widespread testing and thorough contact tracing to detect asymptomatic infections, interrupt undetected transmission chains, and further bend the curve downward,” the CDC says in its guidelines.

“Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection appears to be common, and will continue to complicate efforts to get the pandemic under control,” Petri wrote in The Conversation. To put those figures in context: Asymptomatic carriers also ranged anywhere from 5% to 25% for influenza.

As many states open up again, Carlos de Rio, a professor of global health and epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, told MarketWatch that it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to others for now. “Working in an office with somebody is what concerns me,” he said.