This is how scarily fast you can get infected by a COVID-19 carrier that shows no symptoms

According to a new study published in the journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, more than 10% of new Covid-19 cases are transmitted from asymptomatic carriers. 

Additionally, the team of international researchers currently working out of Austin Texas, have deduced the virus’ serial interval i.e the amount of time it takes for a carrier and the subject the carrier infects to start feeling ill. 

“We estimated the median serial interval at 4.0 days (95% credible interval [CrI]: 3.1, 4.9). Limiting our data to only the most certain pairs, the median serial interval was estimated at 4.6 days (95% CrI: 3.5, 5.9),” the authors write in the report. 

The novel Coronavirus, which was correctly estimated to evidence a transmission rate significantly higher than the flu early on, was found to travel between carriers in less than a week. This means that both the original carrier and the individual infected by the carrier will begin to show symptoms in roughly four days. 

Because subjects become contagious before the virus’s full incubation period, identifying sources has proved to be difficult, which in turn frustrates containment initiatives.  Mitigating hospitalizations, deaths and communal spread are most effectively executed via control measures, with social isolation being the chief among them. 

Travel restrictions, school closures, and mass gathering limitations will likely follow government mandates. 

“Ebola, with a serial interval of several weeks, is much easier to contain than influenza, with a serial interval of only a few days. Public health responders to Ebola outbreaks have much more time to identify and isolate cases before they infect others,” says Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of integrative biology at UT Austin, in a press release. “The data suggest that this coronavirus may spread like the flu. That means we need to move quickly and aggressively to curb the emerging threat.”

The new paper was derived from more than  450 coronavirus patients located in 93 Chinese cities. 

After isolating transmission cases that occurred between carriers who already felt ill, the researchers were left with 45.  Applied more broadly, this means one in every 10 successful Covid-19 transmissions will begin with asymptomatic carriers. 

“Our findings are corroborated by instances of silent transmission and rising case counts in hundreds of cities worldwide,” the authors continued. “This tells us that COVID-19 outbreaks can be elusive and require extreme measures.”

Beside extreme surveillance tactics, much of the death toll has declined in mainland China as a result of consistent testing and mandated social distancing.