The Latest: The truth about superspreaders
At this point in the pandemic, we actually know a lot more about the novel coronavirus than we did in the beginning. There are still a lot of unknowns, but the virus is no longer a complete mystery. Here are a few recent findings to get you up to speed:
1️⃣ People are very contagious before they have symptoms. This is what makes the virus unique from other viruses and hard to control.
2️⃣ “Superspreaders” — more on them below — are believed to account for some 80% of infections.
3️⃣ If you get the virus, the symptoms can last for a very long time. Sometimes months. Even if you don’t have a severe case.
All of this is to say the same rules still apply: Distancing is important if you can, but so is getting tested for the virus if you think you’ve been exposed (and isolating if you’re positive). Tests are much more widely available now. Seek them out.
What else is new:
- Case count: There are over 1.8 million confirmed cases in the U.S. and over 6.6 million confirmed cases worldwide. So far, over 108,200 Americans have died from Covid-19.
- Two major Covid-19 studies are retracted: Studies published in The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine were retracted after it was discovered that the data used was highly questionable (and the company that provided the data may also be suspect). Read more.
- George Floyd tested positive for Covid-19: Full autopsy results for Floyd were released on Wednesday and disclosed he had tested positive for Covid-19 in early April. Read more.
- More hydroxychloroquine bad news: A study released on Wednesday found the malaria drug did not prevent Covid-19 in a study of 821 people who had been exposed to people infected with the virus. Read more.
Follow our Medium Coronavirus Blog for regular updates, and read some of the essential stories we’ve curated below.
Editor, Medium Coronavirus Blog
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A quick Q&A: What are superspreaders?
Individuals who are responsible for a large number of Covid-19 infections are called “superspreaders,” and data increasingly shows that they play a key role in the pandemic. As Robert Roy Britt reports for Elemental, superspreaders may or may not know they are sick, but by going to highly dense places, they can cause outbreaks in which dozens or even hundreds of other newly infected people continue to spread the disease among family, friends, or colleagues — all before anyone knows they’re infected. There’s no magic bullet to stop superspreader events, but prevention — like distancing — goes a long way.
New on the blog
Covid-19 Can Last for Several Months (The Atlantic)
Insights from around the world
Genes May Leave Some People More Vulnerable to Severe Covid-19 (The New York Times)