Dr. Steve Threlkeld is an infectious disease specialist at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis.
He said unlike the flu, it’s hard to tell how the coronavirus infection spreads if someone is asymptomatic.
“So, it is indeed important because you can’t know when you are standing next to someone who can give you the infection,” Threlkeld told WHBQ-TV.
That’s why the CDC suggested people wear a mask to protect themselves and other people from getting the virus especially anyone with preexisting health conditions or the elderly.
“We’ve seen that the viral load, the amount of virus someone has in their lungs and nose and spray out at you, can be highest early on just as they are becoming symptomatic,” Threlkeld told WHBQ-TV. “Even if they do, it’s a little more difficult to know people who are totally asymptomatic and what their viral load kinetics are.”
Jails and prisons, where many inmates have been asymptomatic, have seen notable outbreaks of COVID-19.
WHBQ-TV also reported on a story of a family of nine from Drummonds, Tennessee, that tested positive for the virus after Easter dinner.
Five of the relatives were asymptomatic and some family members wound up in the hospital.
Threlkeld said that’s why social distancing, washing your hands and other safety measures are important.
“The asymptomatic people have become a very important part of this infection, so it is indeed important because you can’t know when you are next to someone who can give you the infection,” Threlkeld said.
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