Are we all Typhoid Mary? Chilling CDC report says the coronavirus can be transmitted EVEN BEFORE symptoms appear
04/05/2020 // Ralph Flores // Views

People infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread the disease even before they show symptoms, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Report (MMWR), it revealed how people infected with the coronavirus can transmit the disease one to three days before the onset of symptoms, making them “presymptomatic carriers.”

The report also highlighted the challenges of identifying and isolating infected people. In response, the CDC has updated its guidance to acknowledge that even people who appear healthy can potentially transmit the novel coronavirus.

All it takes is a presymptomatic carrier to trigger an outbreak

In the report, the CDC defined presymptomatic transmission as “the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from an infected person (source patient) to a secondary patient before the source patient developed symptoms.”

The researchers looked at clinical and epidemiological data from 243 cases in Singapore from January 23 to March 16, and identified seven clusters of COVID-19 cases, where presymptomatic transmission most likely occurred. Among the cases reviewed, the team noted that 6.4 percent of locally acquired cases, including the clusters identified, were caused by presymptomatic transmission. (Related: If we want America to get back to work, then TEST EVERYBODY first, so we can isolate the asymptomatic carriers.)

“To account for the possibility of presymptomatic transmission, officials developing contact tracing protocols should strongly consider including a period before symptom onset,”  the team wrote in their report, noting that presymptomatic transmission “underscores the critical role social distancing, including avoidance of congregate settings, plays in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.”


CDC to shift federal guidance on masks

The White House says that the CDC is “close to recommending” that all Americans wear cloth masks when going out --  the complete opposite of what it said in February, when Surgeon General Jerome Adams asked people in a tweet to stop buying masks.

During a White House briefing on Thursday, President Donald Trump said the CDC will roll out the new guidance in the coming days. He also added that people can wear masks if they want to, which could indicate that following the planned regulations is a personal choice.

However, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, issued a stern warning following the announcement, saying that Americans should not get a false sense of security from just wearing the masks.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he would “lean toward” asking everyone to wear masks, but only if this does not take away masks from “healthcare workers who need them.”

A white paper from researchers at Yale University proffered the use of homemade cloth masks for the public, which ensures that healthcare workers will not run out of surgical masks and high-grade respirators.

“It is critically important that public adoption not come at the expense of medical mask availability for health workers,” said Jason Abaluck, an associate professor of economics at the Yale School of Management and a co-author of the paper. “This is why we emphasize universal adoption of cloth masks.”

The masks are primarily for the benefit of those wearing it, say researchers, as these prevent infected people from spreading the virus by coughing or sneezing.

In Los Angeles, health officials have already advised residents to don masks when going out for groceries or medicine. According to Los Angeles County Health Director Barbara Ferrer, everyone needs to assume that they could potentially be carriers of the coronavirus, “even if [they] are feeling fine.”

Meanwhile, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp enforced a statewide stay-at-home order, following the CDC's recent findings about asymptomatic transmission.

“Those individuals could’ve been infecting people before they ever felt bad, but we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” said Kemp. “This is a game-changer for us.” has the latest on the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

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