DOH: New evidence shows ‘pre-symptomatic’ transmission of COVID-19 possible
MANILA, Philippines — There is new evidence that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients who exhibit no symptoms, or at least not yet, can transmit the virus and infect other people.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Thursday said there is a recent analysis that shows that “pre-symptomatic” transmission may occur.
This means that COVID-19 patients who do not exhibit any symptoms yet can already infect other people, especially when the highest viral load in a person occurs one to three days before symptoms occur in a patient.
“Experts have been saying in this recent evidence that presymptomatic transmission really occurs,” Vergeire told reporters in an online media forum.
“May mga ebidensya na transmission occurs from patients who are lab-positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms yet, or report that they have no symptoms but have very mild symptoms,” she added.
The Health official added that it may be difficult to really identify those who are really asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic since there are patients who fail to report their symptoms are they are not very noticeable.
“Some mild symptoms may not be noticeable for some individuals kaya minsan and most of the time, it is not reported,” she said.
Vergeire advised individuals to “err on the side of caution” and heighten their “index of suspicion” and to log of even the mildest symptoms they experience.
At present, about 93% of COVID-19 cases in the country experience mild symptoms. The Philippines currently has 19,748 cases in the country, with 4,153 recoveries and 974 deaths.
With the new evidence, the health department will have to adjust and strengthen its protocols in handling the disease, especially in case surveillance, contact tracing, and testing of close contacts of COVID-19 cases.
Minimum health standards, such as wearing of face masks in public, observing physical distancing, and frequent washing of hands, must still be observed.
This new evidence comes into light as the government loosened its quarantine protocols in Metro Manila despite the warning of experts of a possible second wave of transmission.
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