Forget about the 14-day incubation period touted by the World Health Organisation previously.
Because new findings in the desperate study of the Covid-19 (Sars-CoV-2) has revealed something even scarier:
The transmission period of people who are asymptomatic could be as long as 4 weeks.
Now, before you lose your chill and go
Read on first.
Everything You Need To Know In Simple English
According to Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases expert at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, studies in the US, China and Italy have shown that 50% to 70% of the Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic (shows no symptoms like coughing, breathlessness, etc) or shows really mild symptoms.
However, they can spread the virus for up to 4 weeks.
Previously, asymptomatic carriers were thought to of little risk when it comes to spreading the virus since they don’t cough or sneeze (the main mode of transmission).
Unfortunately, a new study found out that at least 10 Covid-19 cases in Singapore were infected by people who showed little to no symptoms.
A top infectious diseases expert from the US said that about 25 to 50 per cent of people with Covid-19 show no symptoms.
It was also noted that while they do not know why, Covid-19 is “highly infectious” right from the start even if a person doesn’t show symptoms, or showed really mild ones.
Which is why the concept of
discriminating avoiding sick people no longer works here; and why we are forced to wear masks and stay home as much as possible.
Asymptomatic Cases Are The Hardest To Detect
When Covid-19 first came into the limelight, Singapore immediately deployed its defences, one of which includes health declarations and temperature screening.
But here’s the problem: in order to be detected, the person needs to show symptoms of the virus, like coughing or fever.
As for those who don’t show any symptoms? They basically get away with the checks and continue (unknowingly) to spread Covid-19 into the community.
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Reader Ben: Wait, then how do you know they exist? Since they, well, can’t be caught.
Remember the Diamond Princess? The aggressive testing onboard the cruise ship led to the discovery that a significant proportion of such asymptomatic infections exist.
On 1 Apr, when China started reporting on the daily figures of asymptomatic cases, about 78% (or 130) of 166 new Covid-19 cases on 1 Apr in China were asymptomatic cases.
Wait…What Does That Mean For S’poreans?
According to Dr Leong Hoe Nam, this might mean that the circuit breaker must be extended beyond 4 May 2020.
He did the math for us:
4 weeks for the transmissible period for people who shows mild to no symptoms + 2 weeks incubation period = 6 weeks needed to really stamp out the disease.
Originally, the Singapore authorities designed the circuit breaker to last for exactly 28 days, which was supposed to accommodate for two cycles of the 14-day incubation period.
Take Circuit Breaker Seriously
Because when it ends depend on every Singaporean like you and me.
Like what Minister Lawrence Wong said, treat everyone as a potential enemy and we might be able to start going out and watch movies or sing K soon.
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