An influx of new studies has shown that the majority of people may have unknowingly contracted the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
While the virus is known to cause flu-like symptoms in mild cases, the research suggests most people may not show any symptoms at all. This comes while asymptomatic cases (those who test positive for the virus yet show no symptoms) continue to appear around the world.
According to a top official from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25% of infected people may not show any symptoms, while some experts predict this number to be significantly higher.
In New York, a recent study conducted found a handful of new mothers had tested positive for the coronavirus and were also asymptomatic.
Tests conducted on those onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship found nearly half who tested positive also displayed no symptoms and it is estimated that 18% of those who had contracted the virus never developed any symptoms.
Accuracy of testing
However, it is important to note that inaccuracies exist with mouth and nose testing. Many test positive showing no symptoms, yet report feeling sick later. This was evident in a Japanese study that showed half of those who tested positive were asymptomatic. The study by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) found more than half of those who had no symptoms when they first tested positive reported feeling ill at a later stage.
According to Dr. Michael Mina of Harvard’s School of Public Health, the numbers cannot be trusted due to “flawed and inadequate testing.” He asserts that “we have just been off the mark by huge, huge numbers” when estimating total infections.
While a lot of ambiguity still surrounds this unprecedented pandemic, currently only two main tests exist in the US – one which will inform you of whether you are currently infected with the virus, and the other that will indicate whether you had previously been infected and now recovered. The key test which is still in the works – but also reportedly essential in allowing Americans to safely return back to normalcy – is the antibody test.
Until now, governors across the US have continued to urge the White House to do more to help states with testing prior to easing stay-at-home regulations.