No Symptoms

October 19, 2020

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Anchor lead: How many people can be infected with Sars-CoV2 but not show symptoms? Elizabeth Tracey reports

One in three people who tested positive for Sars-CoV2 didn’t have any symptoms at diagnosis and never developed any, a recent study from South Korea found. Brian Garibaldi, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says there’s at least one takeaway from this study.

Garibaldi: That is the basic principle of why we all need to be wearing masks. If there’s no difference in viral shedding between someone who’s sick and someone who’s not, then we are not testing widely enough or frequently enough to know who the asymptomatic people are, we all have to be wearing masks. And not for your own safety but for the safety of the community. You’ve got to be wearing masks. And we have to be really careful in the winter because people start going inside and getting physical distancing fatigue and wanting to be with friends and family over the holidays. We have to be careful, we have to protect each other. We have to keep going.  :29

Garibaldi says that the majority of people in this study were young and therefore also at low risk for severe disease. He notes that this rate of asymptomatic infection is similar to other studies. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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