What do individuals who are infected with coronavirus and are asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic or mildly symptomatic have in common?

Infection and Spread

A: All three types of infected individuals may be able to transmit coronavirus to others without realizing they themselves have been infected.

ASYMPTOMATIC individuals are those that carry the active virus in their body but never develop any symptoms.

PRE-SYMPTOMATIC individuals are those that have been infected with the virus but haven’t started to show symptoms yet.

MILDLY symptomatic individuals are those that are infected with the virus and feel a little unwell.

It has been estimated that of those without symptoms who test positive for coronavirus, ~25% never develop symptoms, whereas ~75% do develop symptoms but this can take an average of 5-6 days after getting infected (and in some cases, up to 2 weeks).

Importantly, individuals can transmit the infection to others up to 2-3 days before they themselves develop symptoms and some studies suggest transmission from asymptomatic individuals may also be occurring. Individuals are thought to be most infectious during the first days of symptoms (when they might be mildest).

Wearing cloth masks in public spaces where maintaining a distance of 6 ft is difficult is now recommended by CDC in order to prevent individuals who my be asymptomatic or presymptomatic from spreading coronavirus to others before they realize they have been infected. Those who have any symptoms, even mild ones, or have been exposed to a case of coronavirus and told to self-quarantine, should avoid going out in public, even with a cloth mask.

Link to NPR Article on Silent Spreader of COVID-19

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