COVID-19 Infected May Be Symptom-Free for 5 Days

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 10:48

Researchers of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School Of Public Health have estimated 5.1 days for the median disease incubation period.

According to the SciTech Daily report, this median time from exposure to onset of symptoms suggests that the 14-day quarantine period used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for individuals with likely exposure to the coronavirus is reasonable.

The analysis suggests that about 97.5 percent of people who develop symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection will do so within 11.5 days of exposure. The researchers estimated that for every 10,000 individuals quarantined for 14 days, only about 101 would develop symptoms after being released from quarantine.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 181 cases from China and other countries that were detected prior to February 24, 2020, were reported in the media, and included likely dates of exposure and symptom onset. Most of the cases involved travel to or from Wuhan, China, the city at the center of the epidemic, or exposure to individuals who had been to Hubei, the province for which Wuhan is the capital.

The CDC and many other public health authorities around the world have been using a 14-day quarantine or active-monitoring period for individuals who are known to be at high risk of infection due to contact with known cases or travel to a heavily affected area.

Based on our analysis of publicly available data, the current recommendation of 14 days for active monitoring or quarantine is reasonable, although with that period some cases would be missed over the long-term,” says study senior author Justin Lessler, an associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology.

The findings have been published on March 9, 2020 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

Reference: “The incubation period of COVID-19 from publicly reported confirmed cases: estimation and application” by Stephen A. Lauer, MS, PhD; Kyra H. Grantz, BA; Qifang Bi, MHS; Forrest K. Jones, MPH; Qulu Zheng, MHS; Hannah R. Meredith, PhD; Andrew S. Azman, PhD; Nicholas G. Reich, PhD and Justin Lessler, PhD, 9 March 2020, Annals of Internal Medicine.

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