B. BOISSONNET / BSIP

“Half of all infections passed on before symptoms”

Steven Van Gucht of the Belgian crisis centre has asked people to stay at home at the first sign of a sore throat or cough. The virologist points to information published in the magazine Nature Medicine that suggests half of all infections are passed on by people before they come down with coronavirus symptoms.

Nature Medicine reports that coronavirus is at its most infectious two days ahead of the first symptoms. Virologist Van Gucht now urges everybody to stay at home from the minute they feel ill.

“Decide to stay home immediately and contact your GP.  Don’t think it will pass.  It’s at this point you are at your most infectious and you infect others.”

According to research published in the magazine 44% of infections are passed on by people two days before any symptoms appear.  56% of infections are passed on after symptoms appear. 

Prof Van Gucht: “One in two infections is passed on before symptoms appear.”

The researchers also discovered people are at their most infectious when symptoms first appear.

“It’s at this point a lot of virus is secreted.  The longer you remain ill, the less virus is produced.”

Prof Van Gucht sets great store by contact tracing: people who have been in contact with somebody who comes down with corona are alerted to this fact by their GP.  In this way they can self-isolate and ensure they don’t infect anybody in the two days before symptoms.”

An app is expected to help in contact tracing.

The daily De Tijd today reports that 2,000 ‘corona detectives’ are being hired to track down those who have been in contact with somebody who comes down with corona.

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