As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise, patents pile into hospitals, and citizens confine themselves at home. But not every carrier has the same symptoms, some do not have symptoms at all and are spreading COVID without even realizing it.
“An asymptomatic is observed but is not treated with medications or any medical treatment that would be used if symptoms were present. The only way to tell if a person is a carrier is to do a nasal swab or a blood test to see if the virus is present,” said Marti Bilardi, a registered nurse that owned and ran an assisted living facility with her husband.
According to the American Medical Association, asymptomatic appears when a patient is a carrier for a disease or infection but experiences no symptoms. This means that even when a carrier is adhering to stay-at-home orders and only leaving their homes for essential reasons they can possibly expose the virus to people in their surroundings.
“People are thought to be contagious when they are symptomatic, however, the virus is being detected in people without symptoms. So in theory, even a person who is primarily asymptomatic, but still positive, can spread it by droplets like coughing or sneezing,” said Susan Mckenzie, a registered nurse.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 25 percent of overall COVID cases are categorized as asymptomatic cases. But the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hyten, reported to Fox News that he estimated asymptomatic cases among military personnel alone could be as high as 70 percent.
“Most of the people who were thought to be asymptomatic aren’t truly asymptomatic, they are Presymptomatic, meaning they are not showing any signs of illness yet, but at least 75% will show some symptoms eventually get sick,” said Linda Killingbeck, health advisor for Cactus Shadows.
Wearing a social comfort mask or N95 grade mask, that is made of fabric, is intended to protect any infected droplets, when a carrier sneezes or coughs, from reaching someone else. However, these types of masks do not protect individuals from getting the virus.
“A cloth face mask isn’t meant to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others. This is especially important if someone is infected but is asymptomatic,” said Mckenzie.
Even as some states begin to lift stay-at-home orders, the CDC continues to recommend social distancing while out in public, washing hands often, and wearing a mask only as a precaution.