In the last couple of months, the United States has been struggling to maintain the coronavirus outbreak, and with so many states being hit hard with the virus, many people are wondering how it's spreading so quickly.
A study has decided to take an examination at what is causing the coronavirus to spread too rapidly, and have managed to find a specific category of people who are spreading over 50% of COVID-19 cases. The study has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and found that "Our results indicate that silent disease transmission during the pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic stages are responsible for more than 50 percent of the overall attack rate in COVID-19 outbreaks", say the authors.
The scientists gathered the findings by using a model that took into account existing research on what would be the best methods to implement in an attempt to contain the outbreak. The authors of the study say, majority of cases "may be attributable to silent transmission from a combination of the pre-symptomatic stage and asymptomatic infections. Even if all symptomatic cases are isolated, a vast outbreak may nonetheless unfold." The researchers explain that the "silent transmission" is from asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus, which is when the person is infected with the virus but doesn't develop any symptoms.
Due to a person not developing any symptoms, they are less likely to go and get tested and would be operating through life as per normal. This would mean the person would be interacting with multiple people through social gatherings, meetings, etc.
The researchers suggest to combat this problem is to implement more testing and better contact tracing. The authors say, "Our findings highlight the urgent need to scale up testing of suspected cases without symptoms. Delays in contact tracing increase the risk of onward transmission, especially since those without symptoms are generally unaware of their infection risk to others, and therefore are less likely to curtail social interactions."
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