A number of researches suggest that far more people had the coronavirus without showing any symptoms, which means it is impossible to know who could be contagious.
While that complicates decisions about people returning to normal life, it also means that the virus could be much less lethal than originally thought.
Just last week, reports of silent infections came in from numerous locations, such as a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, a homeless shelter in Boston and pregnant women at a New York hospital, California and several European countries.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of the people infected by the coronavirus might not have any symptoms.
General John Hyten, Vice Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff believes that it may be as high as 60% to 70% among military personnel.
However, Dr. Michael Mina of Harvard’s School of Public Health argues that these numbers cannot be fully trusted, as these numbers are based on flawed and inadequate testing.
Instead, they suggest that when estimating total infections, “we have just been off the mark by huge, huge numbers.”
Health officials stated that the virus usually causes mile to moderate flu-like symptoms, which may now be obsolete as evidences show that a significant number of people may have no symptoms at all.
A New York hospital tested all pregnant women coming in over a two-week period, and nearly 14% of those who arrived without symptoms turned out positive.
29 out of 33 positive cases had no symptoms when tested, only to develop them later.
Tests carried out on passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess found that nearly half of those who tested positive had no symptoms at that time, and estimated 18% of those infected people never developed any symptoms.
Better answers may come from newer tests, which checks blood for antibodies, rather than tests that look for bits of virus from throat and nose swabs.