Asymptomatic cases and the spread of Covid-19

Monday June 29 2020

Whether one has or doesn’t have symptoms and

Whether one has or doesn’t have symptoms and wears a mask, they should not put the mask on surfaces where other people are likely to touch and touch their mouth, nose or eyes.  

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Is it true that people without symptoms cannot transmit Covid-19? Also, should masks only be worn in isolation hospitals? – Kamwine

Dear Kamwine,
Although it is not known when one with Covid-19 is most infectious, like any infectious disease, one should be most infectious when they have the most numbers of germs in the body.
This is when they begin showing symptoms or when one has failed to control the infection and is ill.

A person with no symptoms will have less Covid-19 germs in the body and is, therefore, less likely to transmit infection. However, they can still infect another person, the reason physical distancing, washing of hands and wearing of masks is still important.

The early symptoms of Covid-19 such as fever, fatigue, cough and sneezing may be confused with other illnesses such as the common cold yet at the beginning of these symptoms, one has high levels of the virus.

Even before symptoms start showing, the Covid-19 germ is found concentrated in the nose and throat and so, any closeness can risk one infection, especially when people are talking, exercising, hence blowing out lots of air.

Also, a person may sneeze or cough for any other reason and not necessarily due to Covid-19 or may be unknowingly starting to show symptoms of Covid-19 and throw droplets of mucus and saliva into the air risking infection to those around. If one coughs in the hands or handkerchief and touches surfaces without washing their hands, they will still spread the virus.

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Whether one has or doesn’t have symptoms and wears a mask, they should not put the mask on surfaces where other people are likely to touch and touch their mouth, nose or eyes.

Also, they should dispose of the masks properly so that they are not picked and re-used. With a lot about Covid-19 still unknown, it is better to stay safe by observing physical distancing, washing hands often and wearing a mask when in public or where physical distancing is impossible.

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