1,541 symptom-free domestic cases . . .
China’s National Health Commission released new data today identifying 1,541 domestic asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. The announcement follows the central government's request for local officials to be more proactive in investigating the extent of silent carriers. Asymptomatic carriers are individuals who test positive for COVID-19 without identifiable clinical symptoms, such as a fever or cough. They are found by actively testing people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases.
Asymptomatic cases pose risk of second wave . . .
Several independent studies from Iceland, Italy, and China show that a third to a half of novel coronavirus cases have no symptoms. Asymptomatic people are still infectious and pose a significant risk in the second wave of the outbreak, especially after several countries have confirmed that their rates of new infections were slowing.
The world faces a long fight ahead . . .
This new data will help countries around the world, including Canada, to plan for how to address the pandemic when their own infection rates slow as hoped in the coming months. It suggests that continued social distancing and precautionary quarantine measures are needed and will remain necessary even when the number of new cases is in decline. Prolonging social distancing, self-isolation, and precautionary quarantine will also prolong the economic consequences of such measures, including unemployment and economic slowdown or recession. For countries with limited testing capacities and health-care resources, controlling the outbreak will be an especially long fight.