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Asymptomatic means that you show no signs of disease and your body does not exhibit any symptoms to indicate that you are sick. When you are asymptomatic, you can be a carrier of an infectious disease and have no idea that you are walking around infecting other people.
How Does This Relate to COVID-19?
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak with close to 1.3 million confirmed cases worldwide (April 7th, 2020); the term asymptomatic comes up frequently in writing and conversations regarding the virus. The reason for this is that many people are not exhibiting symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 but are spreading the disease unknowingly. In addition to making the coronavirus extremely infectious, asymptomatic carriers also make it very hard to perform contact tracing. Contact tracing is the practice of tracing the path that an infected person has been on during their infectious period and identifying people who may have come into contact with them. Officials can then round up those people, test them, and quarantine them if they are positive. If people are asymptomatic, this means that many people can become infected and have no idea how or from whom. Asymptomatic people also won't know to quarantine themselves.
How Can I Minimize the Risk?
Even with social distancing measures being taken across the world, there are still many people who think it doesn’t apply to them because they don’t feel sick, or because they are in the younger demographic less affected by the disease. What is unfortunate is that many who think this way don’t realize how dangerous they could be to others if they are carrying the disease but are among the fortunate who are asymptomatic. The CDC has recommended that everyone wear a mask when they are out in public not only to protect themselves from contracting the virus but also to protect others should they be asymptomatic or presymptomatic. A study done in Singapore has shown some preliminary evidence that people are most infectious when they are pre or asymptomatic; it may be because they are unaware that they should be taking precautions and staying away from others. To minimize the possibility of exposure and transmission, everyone needs to stay at home as much as possible, order essentials online when possible, only go out when absolutely necessary, and avoid getting within 6 feet of anyone you do not live with. Wash your hands frequently to protect yourself and others.
For the Greater Good
No matter who you are, staying home is the best thing you can do to help keep everyone safe and end the pandemic. This is not just a community effort but a global one, and the sooner everyone complies with self-isolation and social distancing regulations, the sooner everyone can see their family and friends.
About the Author
Chelsie Joy writes a travel blog, Joy Adventures and is based out of Montréal, Canada. Having taught in South Korea, UAE, and Czech Republic, she has had the opportunity to travel widely and developed a passion for writing about her adventures. She specializes in writing about travel, fitness, the arts, and the environment.
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