Latest classified data released by Chinese government suggests that “silent carriers” of Covid-19 virus could be playing a dangerous role in electrifying the spread of the pandemic across the globe.
The data reveals that around 43,000 people in China have tested positive despite showing no symptoms. Such patients who looked healthy were the silent carriers and would have played a vital role in the spread of the virus.
However, asymptomatic carriers of the dreaded virus have been ignored by most of the western countries.
The latest data from China suggests that such silent carriers in large numbers could further complicate the strategies used by different countries to counter community transmission of the disease.
In a report, the South China Morning Post said that around 43,000 people in China had tested positive for coronavirus by the end of February but had no symptoms.
These asymptomatic, silent carriers were placed under quarantine and were closely monitored by the doctors. However, they were not included in the list of officially confirmed cases which then stood at 80,000.
Scientists are not yet sure what role exactly a silent carrier or asymptomatic transmission plays in the spread of this new type of coronavirus. A patient usually develops symptoms in five days though the incubation period can stretch up to 14 days or even three weeks.
During this period, the asymptomatic patient can pass on the infection to others. A section of scientists are of the view that silent carriers play a vital role in infecting others with the Covid-19 virus.
“The Chinese government changed its classification guidelines on February 7, counting only those patients with symptoms as confirmed cases. The US, Britain and Italy simply do not test people without symptoms, apart from medical workers who have prolonged exposure to the virus,” said the English daily owned by the Alibaba group.
China may not have been adding silent carriers on its official list, but it prevented the spread of the disease by isolating and monitoring them.
The approach helped the government in swiftly containing the virus from spreading to other regions in the China.
Similarly, Hong Kong also tested travellers at the airport, even if they had no symptoms. On the other hand, many European countries and the US followed a different approach and did not test those who were asymptomatic or rather were silent carriers of the virus.
Such approach reportedly led to an increase in the number of infections in Europe and the US.
As the world now is witness to a dangerous spread of the virus, some scientists are asking whether asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmissions have been underestimated.
An in-depth research by experts in China, the US, Britain and Hong Kong estimated that undocumented cases of the disease, mostly with mild or even no symptoms, were the source of infection for 79 per cent of documented ones before Wuhan was locked down on January 23, the English daily said.