Now, evidence suggests that about one in five infected people will experience no symptoms, and they will transmit the virus to significantly fewer people than someone with symptoms. But researchers are divided about whether asymptomatic infections are acting as a ‘silent driver’ of the pandemic.
Up to mid-March 2020, the Government’s Sage (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) Committee advised against attempting heavy suppression of the spread of what in those days it called the “Wuhan coronavirus”. The minutes of its meeting of March 13 2020 state: “Sage was unanimous that measures seeking to completely suppress spread of Covid-19 will cause a second peak. Sage advises that it is a near certainty that countries such as China, where heavy suppression is underway, will experience a second peak once measures are relaxed.”
Professor Carl Heneghan said there has been a 50% rise in coughs and colds
This is normal for September when children go back to school and university
But Government messaging about Covid-19 has left people ‘terrified’, he said
- A coughing illness would not normally be considered an epidemic until doctors were seeing 400 symptomatic cases per 100,000 – far higher than Covid-19 rates;
- The Eat Out to Help Out restaurant voucher scheme likely led to an increase in the spread of coronavirus;
- Increased testing is still only picking up a fraction of the true number of cases but it’s detecting more of ‘background’ infections because it’s more targeted, making it look like cases are soaring;
- Bolton may be experiencing high infections because the virus was not widespread there before lockdown lifted and people did not build up any immunity;
- Swab tests are still picking out too many people who aren’t infectious, and studying individuals’ viral loads could help officials to pick out those actually at risk of spreading it;
- The country cannot test its way out of the outbreak and there must be a coherent strategy for what to do with knowledge of case numbers and a level that is acceptable;
- Ambiguous phrases such as ‘Moonshot’ are not helpful for communicating the Government’s plans and have no basis in science, which should be paramount.
UCLA researchers analyzed more than 10 million patient records for visits to Los Angeles hospitals between December and February
They saw 50% increase for visits for ‘coughing’ compared to the average number seen in the same period during the prior five years
At least 18 more people were hospitalized for respiratory failure than in a typical year
LA’s first case of COVID-19 was identified at LAX on January 26, and a second wasn’t found for another five weeks
The new research suggests that the virus might have been in LA months earlier, before it made people sick enough to trigger the December uptick in ER visits
We noticed that speaking through some masks (particularly the neck gaiter) seemed to disperse the largest droplets into a multitude of smaller droplets (see fig. S5), which explains the apparent increase in droplet count relative to no mask in that case. Considering that smaller particles are airborne longer than large droplets (larger droplets sink faster), the use of such a mask might be counterproductive. Furthermore, the performance of the valved N95 mask is likely affected by the exhalation valve, which opens for strong outwards airflow. While the valve does not compromise the protection of the wearer, it can decrease the protection of persons surrounding the wearer. In comparison, the performance of the fitted, non-valved N95 mask was far superior.
Covid-19 appearance and fast spreading took by surprise the international community. Collaboration between researchers, public health workers and politicians has been established to deal with the epidemic. One important contribution from researchers in epidemiology is the analysis of trends so that both current state and short-term future trends can be carefully evaluated. Gompertz model has shown to correctly describe the dynamics of cumulative confirmed cases, since it is characterized by a decrease in growth rate that is able to show the effect of control measures. Thus, it provides a way to systematically quantify the Covid-19 spreading velocity. Moreover, it allows to carry out short-term predictions and long-term estimations that may facilitate policy decisions and the revision of in-place confinement measures and the development of new protocols. This model has been employed to fit the cumulative cases of Covid-19 from several Chinese provinces and from other countries with a successful containment of the disease. Results show that there are systematic differences in spreading velocity between countries. In countries that are in the initial stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, model predictions provide a reliable picture of its short-term evolution and may permit to unveil some characteristics of the long-term evolution. These predictions can also be generalized to short-term hospital and Intensive Care Units (ICU) requirements, which together with the equivalent predictions on mortality provide key information for health officials.
It has become clear that a hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes—a population the lockdown was designed to protect.3 Neither does it decrease mortality from COVID-19, which is evident when comparing the UK’s experience with that of other European countries.