What a new study reveals about asymptomatic COVID-19 cases

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(NBC News) — NBC News’ Medical Correspondent Dr. John Torres discusses new data regarding how the virus could be spread by people who don’t show any symptoms.

“A new investigation finds people who never showed signs of having coronavirus, they are asymptomatic, may carry the same levels of virus in their body as people who do have symptoms,” stated Torres.

He described the size of the study that collected the information.

“Researchers evaluated 303 patients who were all infected with coronavirus and isolated at a community treatment center in South Korea,” he explained. “193 were symptomatic and 110 were asymptomatic at the time of isolation.”

Then he discussed the study’s methodology and results.

“Physicians and nurses took nasal and throat swabs and compared the levels of the virus in the samples at different points in time during the isolation period,” he said. “They found the viral load of patients who felt completely fine was just as high as those who had a fever, cough, vomiting, and other symptoms.”

He cautioned about speculating what the findings mean about the spread of the disease.

“Now more research is needed to show if being asymptomatic means you are equally as contagious, but it certainly raises the possibility that could be happening,” he said. “And that’s why we keep harping on wearing a mask, because you may never know if you have the virus and are unknowingly spreading it to others.”

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