‘Stealth Transmission’ Fuels Fast Spread of Coronavirus Outbreak
Undetected cases, many of which were likely not severely symptomatic, were largely responsible for the rapid spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, according to new research by scientists at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. The findings based on a computer model of the outbreak are published online in the journal Science.
“The explosion of COVID-19 cases in China was largely driven by individuals with mild, limited, or no symptoms who went undetected,” says co-author Jeffrey Shaman, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University Mailman School and an affiliate researcher at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society. “Depending on their contagiousness and numbers, undetected cases can expose a far greater portion of the population to virus than would otherwise occur. We find for COVID-19 in China these undetected infected individuals are numerous and contagious. These stealth transmissions will continue to present a major challenge to the containment of this outbreak going forward.”
Read the full press release issued from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.