Now it’s official: The coronavirus can be spread by people who have no relevant symptoms themselves.
Numerous studies on the virus have been published in the two months since the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, not all studies have been peer reviewed, and many of them contradict each other. Even those studies that have been reviewed by professionals are still controversial, and it appears that different studies have produced different results. However, numerous case studies in infected patients have shown that containment of the outbreak may be more difficult than previously thought.
A case study published this week by Chinese researchers in JAMA magazine showed that a 20-year-old woman from Wuhan passed the disease on to five of her family members, but she was not sick herself. To make things even more confusing, the young woman was tested negative for the disease before a test days later was finally positive.
A report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention last week found that around 1.2% of officially confirmed cases in China showed no symptoms.
Meanwhile, more than half of the people who tested positive on the Diamond Princess cruise ship had no symptoms. Indeed, 322 of the 621 people tested showed no symptoms on the cruise ship. This leads many researchers to suspect that there are more asymptomatic cases than we are aware of, as the numbers in the report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention do not include people who have not gone through the hospital system were.
In a briefing earlier this month, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, suspected that many of the asymptomatic cases will not be covered unless the patient goes to the hospital himself.
“It is obvious that the people included in the numbers of these studies are the ones who introduce themselves in a hospital. However, there is another large group of people who are either asymptomatic or only slightly symptomatic, ”said Fauci.
Doctors believe that the woman from the latest case study had an incubation period of 19 days. Other studies have shown that the incubation period could be up to 24 or even 27 days. Because of the complicated nature of the disease and its symptoms, Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch recently predicted that the disease could infect between 40% and 70% of the world’s population.
Coronavirus Update: According To WHO Food Transmission Could Be Possible
According to the latest report by the World Health Organization (WHO), an investigation has been launched to determine whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus may be transmitted when food is imported worldwide.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which triggers the COVID-19 virus, could “occur on food worldwide” and “play a potential role of food in the transmission of the virus,” says the recently published WHO management report.
“As a rule, the consumption of raw or uncooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, raw milk or raw animal organs should be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked food, ”the organization warns repeatedly.
This follows the reports from Iran, which reports the 18th case within 24 hours, and South Korea, which increases to 204 cases with 2 fatalities. The United States and Australia have also reported an increase in cases with 35 and 19 positive COVID-19 tests, although the strict travel bans have already been tightened.
Outside of China, Italy reported one death, while Iran, Japan and Hong Kong each had two deaths.
Health centers generally advise you to stay at home as much as possible and always pay attention to hand hygiene, especially washing and disinfecting your hands thoroughly. Do not consume raw or undercooked foods. If you have a cold, use common sense and use a mask as a precaution.
Despite unprecedented measures, the corona virus continues to spread in China. What is the pathogen that keeps the world in suspense? The main answers.
Since its appearance in December, the new corona virus 2019-nCoV has been intensively researched. In a number of studies, researchers are gathering knowledge about the risk of infection and genetics, for example. What is known so far – and what is not:
How contagious is the new corona virus?
This question is currently difficult to answer. It is clear that the virus spreads through droplet infection – for example when coughing and speaking. “The pathogen is significantly more infectious than originally thought,” says infection epidemiologist Lars Schaade, Vice President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).
Many details of the infection are still unclear, says virologist Christian Drosten of the Berlin Charité. «This cannot be exactly reconstructed. You probably get the virus similar to how you catch a cold. » Drosten considers it rather unlikely that symptom-free people can also be infectious, as occasionally reported.
According to Chinese doctors, the virus may also spread through the digestive system. They found the pathogen in stool samples after finding that some patients had diarrhea instead of the usual fever. According to RKI information, however, it has not yet been conclusively clarified whether you can actually be infected in this way. According to the information available in China, the virus is also likely to be transmitted from mother to newborn.
What is striking is the discrepancy between the rapid spread in China and the fact that so far only a few people have been infected in other countries. The virologist Thomas Schulz from the Hannover Medical School (MHH) also explains this by saying that the pathogen in China probably circulated weeks before the authorities took rigorous measures. “If you had done this a month earlier, the situation would probably not have escalated so much,” says Schulz.
What are the symptoms of the new corona virus?
The pathogen primarily infects cells of the lower respiratory tract. As a result, some symptoms of a cold, such as runny nose, do not appear to occur. In general, the symptoms of the new lung disease are non-specific. Fever, dry cough and breathing problems can also occur with flu. “It is not enough just to test feverish people,” says Drosten. “Some people only have mild cold symptoms with chills and sore throats.” Sometimes patients can have headaches or diarrhea.
The incubation period – the period between infection and the onset of symptoms – is 2 to 14 days. Therefore, suspected cases are isolated for two weeks. Infection is usually demonstrated by the detection of the genome of the coronavirus in the sputum, the slimy sputum when coughing.
How dangerous is the pathogen?
It is difficult to answer that at the moment. According to current data, the proportion of infected people who die from lung disease in China is around 2 percent – higher than that of the flu. In the flu pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the mortality rate according to Drosten was around 0.1 percent.
The expert explains the high value in China by the fact that mainly serious cases are known there. “Many people in China only report when they are really sick. These cases are not representative. »
“We don’t know the actual number of cases,” says Schaade. Fall mortality is currently lower outside of China. The low death rate is encouraging at first, “but we have to continue to monitor this,” says Schaade.
Clemens Wendtner, who looks after seven infected people at the Munich Clinic Schwabing, assumes that “mortality is significantly less than one percent, more likely even in the alcohol range”. “It doesn’t have much to do with a very, very dangerous illness,” he says.
How can the new lung disease be treated?
There is no special therapy for the disease. Seriously ill patients are treated symptomatically: with antipyretic agents, the therapy of any additional bacterial infections and sometimes mechanical ventilation.
Can the epidemic be stopped with the existing actions?
The coronavirus epidemic will peak in mid to late next week, Zhong Nanshan, chief of the national team of experts in the fight against coronavirus, said Monday. According to German experts, it is difficult to assess whether this is realistic. “I don’t know the Chinese data and models,” says Schulz, but he tends to be skeptical. “At the moment the curve is going up steeply.” Infection epidemiologist Schaade agrees: “I would be very careful with prognoses.”
Drosten adds: “It is crucial whether China manages to stop the transmissions. I can already imagine that. » But there is also a second question, he emphasizes: does the virus take root in countries with poor health systems, such as Africa or Asia, where it can hardly be controlled? Then there is a permanent threat of a new lung disease in the world.
Schulz suspects that the disease in China will decrease with the start of the warmer season – similar to flu and colds.
“The question is whether she’ll be back next year.”