Asymptomatic coronavirus cases can infect others: DAK

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COVID-19 - Coronavirus

SRINAGAR — With more than 70 percent COVID-19 cases in Kashmir valley showing no symptoms, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday said asymptomatic cases of the novel (new) coronavirus can infect other people and spread the disease.

“Asymptomatic cases are silent spreaders of the disease,” said DAK President, Dr Nisar ul Hassan. “Feeling good or having absence of symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t infect someone else,” he said.

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Dr Nisar said while people displaying symptoms spread the virus through droplets when they cough or sneeze, someone who is not showing the symptoms, but still has the virus can transmit the disease in the same way.

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“The first confirmation that the novel coronavirus could be transmitted by asymptomatic people came in February, when a case study described a 20-year-old woman from Wuhan China who passed the virus to five family members but never got physically sick herself,” he said.

“Emerging body of data suggests that asymptomatic carriers are more likely contributing to the rapid spread of the disease, making it challenging for experts to assess the true extent of the pandemic,” he added.

While early data showed that asymptomatic transmission was a rarity, Dr Nisar said a recent study published in the British Medical Journal suggested that 78 percent people with COVID-19 had no symptoms. The new paper is based on the data that Chinese authorities began publishing daily from April 01 on the number of new cases in the country that are asymptomatic.

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“More than 70 percent confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Kashmir valley are asymptomatic. That is a huge number. These are the contacts. We just don’t know how many more may be out there,” he said.

“The high percentage of asymptomatic individuals should motivate us for mass screening of the population. Understanding exactly how coronavirus is spreading is important in containing the illness and keeping people healthy,” said Dr Nisar.

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