Coronavirus Updates: Around 35% of people with COVID-19 believed to be asymptomatic

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Coronavirus Updates: Around 35% of people with COVID-19 believed to be asymptomatic
Coronavirus Updates: Around 35% of people with COVID-19 believed to be asymptomatic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimate that about 35% of people with COVID-19 don’t exhibit symptoms, a significant jump compared to what health officials initially thought.

The CDC also estimated that 40% of transmission is believed to occur before the onset of any symptoms.

The disclosure raises serious concerns about how states and local officials can prevent outbreaks if about a third of Americans infected by the virus don’t know it.

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Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said scientists had initially worked under the impression that around 11% to 15% of cases were asymptomatic.

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She said the knowledge about potential transmission was a good reason to impose widespread testing in some communities, like nursing homes and meatpacking plants, where social distancing is difficult.

“Now we know it’s at least 35 [percent]. It may be greater than that because it may be so age dependent – that there may be a lot of people under 30 that have the virus and are shedding the virus and aren’t aware that they have the virus,” she said.

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The CDC said the estimate will likely change as the agency learns more about the virus.

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