New data suggests that children aren’t immune to the new coronavirus. That could have huge implications for efforts to contain local outbreaks.
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Asymptomatic coronavirus cases seem very common – but those people might only be contagious for half as long, new research suggests
Asymptomatic coronavirus cases appear to be more prevalent than scientists initially thought. A recent study of...Asymptomatic coronavirus cases appear to be more prevalent than scientists initially thought. A recent study of a cruise ship outbreak found that 80% of passengers who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic. A study from Wuhan, China, also found that asymptomatic patients may only be contagious for half as long as symptomatic patients. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Asymptomatic transmission is a puzzling element of any infectious disease: People without symptoms are hard to identify, so it's difficult to determine how common these cases are. When it comes to the coronavirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 35% of infections are asymptomatic. But a spate of new research suggests that might be conservative. According to a recent study of a coronavirus outbreak on a cruise ship that left Argentina in mid-March, the majority of passengers who tested positive for the virus — around 80% — showed no symptoms. Another study from Wuhan, China, found that 42% of patients — 33 out of 78 tested — were asymptomatic. Additional research suggests that people with asymptomatic cases, though common, may only be contagious for a short window compared to symptomatic patients. "A lot of this is thought to be settled science, but I think that there are still a lot of questions we have about when asymptomatic transmission occurs and the circumstances that it occurs in," Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, told Business Insider. Asymptomatic carriers may only be contagious for 8 days A person's ability to transmit the virus depends partly on their viral load: the amount of viral particles they release into the environment. Research indicates that there's little difference in the viral loads between coronavirus patients who show symptoms and those who don't. "A growing body of results shows that people who are asymptomatic appear to have the same viral load as symptomatic cases," Gigi Gronvall, an immunologist and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the university. "This suggests that transmission is possible equally from both asymptomatic patients and noticeably sick patients." Coronavirus patients tend to have high viral loads in the throat, nasal cavity, and upper respiratory tract, which makes the virus highly contagious. But the Wuhan study suggests that asymptomatic coronavirus patients don't shed the virus for as much time. On average, the researchers found, symptomatic patients shed for more than twice as long as asymptomatic patients: 19 days compared to eight. No asymptomatic patient in the study shed the virus beyond the 12-day mark — and some only shed for three days. Patients with symptoms, meanwhile, shed for 16 to 24 days. The researchers also found that most asymptomatic patients were women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Scientists aren't sure how much asymptomatic carriers fuel transmission Adalja noted that a lot of the initial data on asymptomatic spread came from a choir practice in Washington. On March 3, a person infected with the virus (who wasn't showing symptoms) attended a 2.5-hour choir practice in Skagit County. Most of the attendees subsequently became ill with the coronavirus, leading some local health officials to conclude that the virus had spread through asymptomatic transmission. But the CDC later determined that most of the choir members' exposure occurred during another practice on March 10, when the same infected person was showing symptoms. This might suggest that asymptomatic carriers aren't fueling transmission as much as scientists first thought. "Now that we've seen that incident in the choir did not involve asymptomatic transmission, that's gotten a lot of people thinking," Adalja said. Some scientists still believe, however, that asymptomatic transmission is driving transmission in confined spaces like hospitals, homeless shelters, prisons, and nursing homes. A recent editorial from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, argued that asymptomatic patients "are playing a major role in the transmission" of the coronavirus. They pointed to an outbreak at a nursing facility in Washington, where 56% of residents tested positive for the virus without showing symptoms. Even though most of those residents developed symptoms within the following week, they likely helped spread the virus when they were asymptomatic. "Symptom-based screening alone failed to detect a high proportion of infectious cases and was not enough to control transmission in this setting," the UCSF researchers wrote. They added that asymptomatic spread was the "Achilles heel" of coronavirus mitigation strategies: Without testing for asymptomatic patients, the US might struggle to contain its outbreak. Hilary Brueck contributed reporting. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Pathologists debunk 13 coronavirus myths
The coronavirus could kill 3,000 Americans per day by June 1, according to leaked projections from the Trump administration
An estimated 3,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 each day by June 1, according to internal...An estimated 3,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 each day by June 1, according to internal Trump administration projections that The New York Times published Monday. If 3,000 people died from the virus every day during the month of June, that would mean 90,000 people would die, which would surpass the current death toll of 68,000. About 1,750 people in the US are currently dying in the US each day, according to the report. The leaked document was based on a draft model a researcher presented to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington Post reported. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. COVID-19 deaths could spike this month as lockdowns lift, according to a leaked, internal, draft projection from the Trump administration that The New York Times and Washington Post published Monday. The leaked document estimates 3,000 people could die from the coronavirus each day in the US by June 1. If that projection were to hold throughout June, it could mean 90,000 people could die next month. Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, drafted the model and presented it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post reported. The leaked document says it's a CDC "Prevention Situation Update" and has logos from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But Lessler told the Post that the document was based on his unfinished modeling. "I had no role in the process by which that was presented and shown. This data was presented as an FYI to CDC … it was not in any way intended to be a forecast," he said. The leaked document also projects about 200,000 people could be infected each day with the virus — up from 30,000 per day presently — by the beginning of June. On Sunday, the US reported 1,719 new deaths from COVID-19, according to the CDC. While 3,000 new deaths per day by June 1 is the middle estimate in the leaked document, the draft model ranges from 750 to 15,000 deaths per day by then. By May 15, it projects 250 to 10,000 deaths per day, with 1,000 as the middle estimate. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said the leaked report hasn't been vetted by multiple agencies and wasn't a White House document. "This data is not reflective of any of the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has analyzed," he said. But Lessler told the Post that if states end their lockdowns too soon, the projections in the document are possible. DataTicker - Covid 19 Global and US Death projections are increasing as states lift their lockdowns Major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles have experienced the largest outbreaks in the US so far, according to Johns Hopkins University. In other areas of the country, outbreaks have been reported among incarcerated populations and at meat processing plants. More than 1.1 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US, and at least 68,285 have died from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins. The grim, leaked projections come as state leaders across the US begin to relax social distancing regulations that were put in place in order to reduce the transmission of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. On Friday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp relaxed the state's stay-at-home order for most residents — and 1,000 new people in the state were diagnosed with the virus that day. Over half of US states plan to relax stay-at-home orders this week, but the vast majority of them do not yet have adequate testing resources experts say are needed to safely do so, the Associated Press reported Saturday. Health experts and leaders have been warning for months of a second wave of COVID-19 cases and deaths if social distancing measures are ended prematurely. On Sunday, President Donald Trump predicted the virus would kill as many as 100,000 Americans, an increase from the 60,000 he projected it would kill a few weeks ago. "Look, we're going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people," he said during a Fox News town hall. "That's a horrible thing. We shouldn't lose one person out of this." The president also on Sunday said there could be a vaccine for the novel coronavirus by the end of the year, though experts have estimated the search for an effective treatment could last 18 months. Experts have also warned that a rushed vaccine could come with risks, including the potential to make the disease worse in infected individuals. But until we have a vaccine or viable treatment for the disease, experts maintain that social distancing and widespread testing are the best ways to contain outbreaks.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why COVID-19 death predictions will always be wrong
The CDC has added six new symptoms to its list of signs that a person has...The CDC has added six new symptoms to its list of signs that a person has been infected with the new coronavirus, including chills and loss of sense of smell.