CDC: COVID-19 can spread before person develops symptoms | KOB 4

CDC: COVID-19 can spread before person develops symptoms

Brittany Costello
Updated: April 02, 2020 05:10 PM
Created: April 02, 2020 02:33 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that COVID-19 can spread days before a person develops symptoms. The report cites research from Singapore.

Researchers found some people had spread the virus, without knowing, one to three days before showing symptoms.


"This confirms our suspicion that there is presymptomatic or asymptomatic spread, which makes it a lot harder to control because people don't know when they're infected," said 
Dr. Charles North, professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UNM.

According to the research, in addition to coughing and sneezing, air particles can be generated by speech.

The report says presymptomatic transmission is thought to have played a role in Washington during a choir practice.

"The virus doesn't spread as well unless someone is coughing," Dr. North said. "The virus lives because it's evolved to be spread by coughing and sneezing, right? So if someone is presymptomatic they may be coughing and sneezing occasionally, especially if they have allergies in New Mexico in the spring, and spreading the virus without knowing it."

Dr. North said the best way to avoid exposure is to continue social distancing.

"What they learned was that it was really important to use social distancing, which is what we're doing, staying at home, working from home, which we're probably doing right now, and handwashing," he said.

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