Many people have coronavirus without experiencing any symptoms, which suggests that the lockdown is pretty much useless because people who feel okay but carry the virus go to supermarkets and liquor stores and spread it all around.
One hundred forty six homeless persons at a Boston shelter tested positive for the coronavirus without showing any symptoms, concerning experts that the pandemic may be more wide spread than originally thought.
The Pine Street Inn was following up a small cluster of cases last week and tested 397 people to discover that 146 were confirmed to have the deadly flu-like virus, also known as COVID-19.
What was equally alarming to health officials was also learning that 100 per cent of the confirmed cases at the shelter had no symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now ‘actively looking into the universal testing’ that was conducted at the shelter, WFXT reports.
Dr. Robert Redfield, the CDC’s director, earlier this month said that as many as one in four coronavirus patients in the US are asymptomatic.
Redfield says this probably explains how cases continue to spread across the country even as strict social distancing measures are enacted.
The actual number of asymptomatic cases is likely to be much higher than one in four.
Iceland recently tested 10% of its population at random and found that half of coronavirus cases have no symptoms, meaning that the virus is significantly less dangerous than originally thought. Presumably even less dangerous than an average flu.
The 146 people confirmed to have COVID-19 were immediately moved to two different temporary isolation facilities in Boston. Only one of the homeless persons needed hospital care, and many continue to show no symptoms, O’Connell said.
As the CDC follows up, testing in the shelters will have to change, he said.
‘All the screening we were doing before this was based on whether you had a fever above 100.4 and whether you had symptoms,’ O’Connell explains. ‘How much of the COVID virus is being passed by people who don’t even know they have it?‘
Lyndia Downie, President and Executive Director at the Pine Street Inn questioned if doing universal testing among the general homeless population would produce similar results.
‘I think there are so many asymptomatic people right now. We just don’t know. We don’t have enough data on universal testing to understand how many asymptomatic people are contagious.’
The shelters have scheduled hundreds of tests in the coming days.
For the same reason that they don’t know how many asymptomatic people there are, they don’t really know the actual death rate of the disease.
Most people could be carrying the virus around without being affected by it, for all we know.