Covid-19: Asymptomatic people can’t infect others because of ‘low virus load’, says Health DG
31 MAY 2020 / 20:56
PUTRAJAYA: Covid-19 positive individuals who are asymptomatic do not have the potential to infect others because they have a low “virus load” compared to those who are symptomatic, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He, however, said that infectivity could occur two days before the affected individual showed symptoms.
“So, we need to differentiate that the ones without symptoms do not have any problems as there’s no infectivity. But we found that those with symptoms and two days before having those symptoms they could infect others,” he said at the daily press conference on Covid-19 today.
He said that the first week of being symptomatic was when the virus was active enough to infect others, but if the individual was isolated for between eight to 10 days, or 14 days as is being done by the government now, the infectivity rate can be reduced to almost zero.
“As for those who are asymptomatic, perhaps they won’t be able to infect others within 14 days. But infection can happen two days before the symptomatic period. So, if we can isolate them we can break the Covid-19 chain of transmission,” he said.
Written by Roz Plater on May 28, 2020
Fact checked by Jennifer Chesak New
As Many as 80 Percent of People with COVID-19 Aren’t Aware They Have the Virus
Researchers say anywhere from 25 percent to 80 percent of people with COVID-19 are unaware they have the virus./
This allows the novel coronavirus to spread more rapidly throughout a community.
Experts say these carriers without symptoms make it even more important for people to wear face masks in public.
All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub and follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 outbreak.
There may be a lot of people walking around who have COVID-19 but have no idea they are spreading the virus.
The first word of this possibility came in early April from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Dr. Robert Redfield, in an interview with National Public Radio affiliate WABE.
“One of the [pieces of] information that we have confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic. That may be as many as 25 percent,” Redfield said.
Then a few days later, researchers in Iceland reported that 50 percent of their novel coronavirus cases who tested positive had no symptoms. The testing had been conducted by deCODE, a subsidiary of the U.S. Biotech company Amgen.
In another reportTrusted Source, the CDC stated that researchers in Singapore identified seven clusters of cases in which presymptomatic transmission is the most likely explanation for the occurrence of secondary cases.
That report was backed up by a studyTrusted Source published in mid-April that concluded that people with no symptoms are the source of 44 percent of diagnosed COVID-19 cases.
In addition, a studyTrusted Source published about the same time reported that people might be most contagious during the period before they have symptoms.
Then, in late April, it was reported that the first known person to die from COVID-19 in the United States before she died of a heart attack on February 6 at her home in Northern California.
Finally, two studies published in late May indicated that a high percentage of people with COVID-19 could be without symptoms.
In one study, researchers reported that 104 of 128 people (81 percent) on a cruise ship who tested positive the novel coronavirus were asymptomatic.
In another studyTrusted Source, researchers reported that 42 percent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 were without symptoms.
“Of those of us that get symptomatic, it appears that we’re shedding significant virus in our oropharyngeal compartment, probably up to 48 hours before we show symptoms,” Redfield said. “This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country because we have asymptomatic transmitters.”