21 April, 2021

Can Asymptomatics Infect? Are They The Silent Carriers?

Chinese scientists said in February that the viral load detected in an asymptomatic patient was similar to that in symptomatic patients

Can Asymptomatics Infect? Are They The Silent Carriers?

The ‘silent spreader’—a patient without symptoms—is the big mystery about Covid. That puzzle actually starts with the symptoms because there’s such a wide range of them, and many of them so mild that you may not even notice. On the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, there’s a list of 11 symptoms—nearly half of these, like ‘new loss of taste or smell’, were added in April, weeks after the global outbreak had begun. These symptoms could appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

By now, there’s fair consensus that a large portion of Covid patients could be ‘paucisymptomatic’ or experiencing mild symptoms—again, falling into different categories. But how many of them truly don’t give out any clues at all of having an infection while they have it? There’s no precise statistical answer at the moment—estimates range wildly, from 6 per cent 41 per cent, globally. But the actual riddle researchers are trying to crack is: Can they infect others? Yes, warned a...

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