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CDC: Asymptomatic carriers make up 40% of people infected with coronavirus

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – “I think the million dollar question is really of the people who have asymptomatic infection, who are going to progress and who are just going to like, hang out and not even get sick?”

The CDC is now estimating about 40-percent of people infected with coronavirus have mild symptoms or none at all.

These cases are tough to identify because the carriers don’t always get tested.

An infectious disease specialist from UCSF said these asymptomatic cases may actually be a good thing for the carrier and for the community.

“Usually people with asymptomatic infection are not usually identified because there is no motivation to go get tested,” Peter Chin-Hong, UCSF infectious disease specialist, said. 

Asymptomatic carriers — people who are sick but have mild or no symptoms at all — make up 40-percent of people infected with coronavirus, according to the CDC.

UCSF infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong says while they once saw this as a bad thing because of how much these people are spreading the disease recent evidence shows it. 

May be a good thing because it may indicate that these people are getting less of the virus or may have seen a similar virus in the past or that some of the more severe cases. 

May have started off mild at first.

“It’s comforting to know that at least not everybody who is asymptomatic will progress on this train to bad things and there’s many people with asymptomatic disease who may kind of be the chosen ones or protected and may not get sick but the problem is we don’t know who those people are that’s why we need to all maintain safety right now,” Chin-Hong said. 

The CDC also reports asymptomatic cases are challenging to identify because people who don’t know they are infected are less likely to get tested.

Chin-Hong believes the longer we wait for a vaccine and the longer the pandemic continues, the more likely we are going to see more widespread testing, possibly even being done at home, more often.

“I think that will be the strategy of the future to control the epidemic until we get the vaccine because at the end of the day what does testing do it tells you if you have it so can keep yourself away from the people who may be vulnerable from infection,” Chin-Hong said.  

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