Home Forums General Medicine ASYMPTOMATIC COVID ??

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    Carl Heneghan, Jon Brassey, Tom Jefferson.

    Evidenced based Medicine July 2020

    Readers of the blog will be aware that we have little trust in the current reported COVID data. Everywhere we look we cannot get a handle on the essential facts or at times we get 2 completely different answers to the same question. The military historian Sir Basil Liddle Hart would have called this “the fog of a pandemic” or perhaps the “fog of information overload”.

    So, we thought we would try to answer an important question: what is the proportion of people with SARS-COV-2 who are asymptomatic?

    To answer this we searched LitCovid (a subset of Pubmed), medRxiv, Trip, Scholar and Google. We retrieved 21 reports for analysis.

    What did we learn .

    That between 5% and 80% of people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 may be asymptomatic

    That symptom-based screening will miss cases, perhaps a lot of them

    That some asymptomatic cases will become symptomatic over the next week (sometimes known as “pre-symptomatics”)

    That children and young adults can be asymptomatic

    We also learnt that there is not a single reliable study to determine the number of asymptomatics. It is likely we will only learn the true extent once population based antibody testing is undertaken.

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