The Real Scoop on Asymptomatic People

The Real Scoop on Asymptomatic People

Those without any symptoms but who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been found to carry similar viral loads as those patients with symptoms.

How many people have COVID-19 and yet have no idea they are sick? The CDC estimates that about 80% of those people infected with the novel coronavirus have a mild or asymptomatic case, and about 40% an entirely asymptomatic. And obviously this is a problem. Many of those who find themselves in the asymptomatic group may feel that because their symptoms are so light, they needn’t really concern themselves with staying home and away from others. But here’s the deal. You really should think twice. According to Harvard Health, people who have no symptoms can indeed still spread COVID-19 to others.

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Asymptomatic people really fall into two categories: those who are actually pre-symptomatic, and those who are truly asymptomatic. Pre-symptomatic people are those who will develop some COVID-19 symptoms in a few days but just haven’t done so yet. The other group never will. Those who WILL eventually have a cough, a sore throat, or perhaps a fever can be contagious up to 72 hours, (three days), before their symptoms do break loose. And those who will never develop symptoms can also be contagious.

People who remain asymptomatic do not necessarily have a reduced viral load in their nose, as many may believe. In fact, research has shown that asymptomatic adults with COVID-19 have similar amounts of the virus in their bodies while they are fighting off the infection as do those WITH symptoms of COVID-19. So, it’s true. Just because you do not have a cough or a fever doesn’t mean your infection can’t kill your immunocompromised neighbor.

This is why we must all wear a mask. And this is precisely why we must practice social distancing and clean our hands. When you do all this, you contribute to lowering the coronavirus death count. And you should be proud of this.

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The internet abounds with stories of people who did not believe COVID-19 was real, and those who knew about it but didn’t take it seriously. They felt untouchable. Online fitness influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk died at the age of 33 of COVID-19, leaving behind three young children and an ex-wife. He didn’t believe the virus existed until it surfaced in him. Samantha Williamson didn’t believe the virus was real until she was stuck with it in the hospital for 22 days, hooked up to breathing machines. Brian Lee Hitchens of Florida also believed the virus was hokum until his wife died from it. This virus is the real deal, folks. Science has shown that both those who have many symptoms of COVID-19 and those who feel just fine but test positive are contagious and should be staying at home while sick, away from others.

Take things seriously even if others around you are not doing so. It makes a difference. A bucket is made of many drops of water, and yours counts.

photo credits: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock.com

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