Can COVID-19 Transmission Happen When Not Appearing Sick?
Yes! You can definitely transmit this coronavirus without showing any symptoms. People are most contagious when they are showing signs of being ill, such as sneezing, coughing, or high temperature, but a lot of COVID-19 transmission may happen before people show symptoms. There are some reports of this happening, but this is not the primary way COVID-19 spreads.
4 Ways COVID-19 Transmission Happens
- COVID-19 transmission happens from person-to-person. Some viruses spread easily, like measles, while other viruses do not. The coronavirus causing COVID-19 spreads very easily.
- COVID-19 is transmitted by contagious droplets being flung about, from coughing or sneezing. This means that this type of transmission happens when people come within 6 feet of each other.
- COVID-19 transmission occurs by touching a surface with a virus on it, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, although this isn’t the main way the virus spreads.
- There is a good possibility of COVID-transmission from being “airborne” when using the same definition used for tuberculosis or measles. Researchers are working to determine if COVID-19 can be inhaled by a healthy human when an infected human exhales.
3 Certain Ways to Help Block COVID-19 Transmission
COVID-19 can only be avoided by never coming into contact with droplets containing the virus. The current mortality (death) rate of COVID-19 is currently quite a bit higher than most strains of the flu. This is serious. The best three things you can do are:
- Stay home with one family unit: no visitors
- Wash your hands often, and surfaces you touch daily
- Wear masks for viruses
For a look at dozens of places a nasty virus could be lurking, check out our comprehensive Contagion Cleanliness Checklist. For more information, see the CDC website on Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.
How Long is a Person Contagious with COVID-19?
On March 10, 2020 the Annals of Internal Medicine published a report conducted by Johns Hopkins University. The researchers studied 181 confirmed COVID-19 cases with “identifiable exposure and symptom onset windows” in order to estimate the incubation period. They found, among other things:
- A median incubation period of 5.1 days, similar to SARS
- The median incubation period is estimated to be 5.1 days
- 97.5% who develop symptoms do so within 11.5 days of infection
- 101 out of 10,000 cases will develop symptoms after 14 days
More Findings on COVID-19 Transmission:
- COVID-19 has a long period (up to 14 days) between first exposure and when symptoms begin to appear. This means a person may not feel sick, and can transmit the disease by coughing or sneezing.
- The study found COVID-19 quickly produces high viral loads, sheds (transmits to others) efficiently, and grows well in the upper respiratory tract.
- Shedding of viral RNA (germs) from sputum (spit/snot) outlasted the end of symptoms. This means COVID-19 transmission can happen AFTER a person is done showing symptoms.
7 Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Transmission:
- Practicing “social distancing,” and limit your trips out of the house
- Work from home if your employer will allow it
- Stay home if you feel ill
- It is extremely important to wash hands regularly
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
- Cover all coughs and sneezes in your elbow or with a tissue
- Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, refrigerator handle, mobile phones
We all have to work together to prevent Covid-19 transmission, and if we do we can “Flatten the Curve.”