There is so much news about the COVID-19 coming at us that it’s hard to know what a person should pay attention to.
Here are five pieces of news from this week’s torrent that we think are noteworthy.
1) People infected with virus that causes COVID-19 may be symptom-free for five days—and they may be able to transmit the virus during that period.
A team of researchers led by Stephen Lauer and Kyra Grantz of the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used 181 confirmed cases from Hubei Province to model an estimate that the median incubation period COVID-19 is 5.1 days and that nearly all infected people will have symptoms within 12 days of infection. In their piece posted this week by the Annals of Internal Medicine, Lauer and Grantz et al said their estimate fits with others and supports the current active monitoring period (aka the quarantine period) of 14 days recommended by CDC.
But there are a couple of nuances to consider. The researchers note that while symptomatic disease is frequently associated with transmissibility, “given recent evidence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission by mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic persons we note that time from exposure to onset of infectiousness (latent period) may be shorter than the incubation period.” In other words, infected people may be able to transmit the virus during the incubation period when they don’t have symptoms.
The researchers also estimate that a small number of cases (101 out of 10,000) will develop symptoms after the 14-day period, so “…there may be high-risk scenarios (for example, a health care worker who cared for a COVID-19 patient while not wearing personal protective equipment) where it could be prudent to extend the period of active monitoring.