What is asymptomatic COVID-19?

Since January of 2021, there have been more than 100 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed all around the world. One aspect of fascination surrounding these numbers: asymptomatic COVID. What causes some people to contract the virus and exhibit little to no symptomatology? Could you be a victim yourself?

It might be possible. The good news is that we know a lot more about asymptomatic COVID than we did in 2020.

What is asymptomatic COVID?

Asymptomatic COVID cases are COVID-positive individuals who didn’t present any of the ordinary symptoms traditionally associated with SARS-CoV-2—coughing, difficulty breathing, and the rest of the usual suspects.

While generally not more lethal than a normal case of COVID-19, asymptomatic cases do bring one major risk to the people and the communities around them: asymptomatic transmission, just as effortless as one symptomatic person infecting another person by way of proximity.

How many COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic? Some broad reviews peg this figure at around 35 percent of total cases; others believe that these numbers might be higher, as statistics like these can be difficult to quantify perfectly. Still other assert that asymptomatic COVID doesn’t truly exist, either through biology or even simply through sheer definition alone.

The majority of asymptomatic cases have been detected in very young people, around 20 years old or younger. Some occupations at particular risk appear to be those working in air or cruise travel, nursing home staff, and other frontline workers. Pregnant women and infirmed elderly populations are also represented disproportionately in this area.

Asymptomatic COVID and long COVID

One unique aspect of an asymptomatic case of COVID: these victims are just as vulnerable to long COVID long after their initial exposure. That’s the funny thing about it—a person will be walking around, feeling great, only to fall unexpectedly ill months later with the symptoms of long COVID.

Some long COVID symptoms include unusual fatigue with no origin, “brain fog,” restlessness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, and even migraine headaches. If you suddenly find yourself in similar straits, you may have been an asymptomatic case all along without even knowing it.

Why asymptomatic COVID-19 matters

Just because a person doesn’t feel sick doesn’t mean that they’re not carrying this highly infectious pathogen—an asymptomatic patient is perfectly capable of delivering SARS-CoV-2 right to your doorstep, which is part of what makes community testing such a vital service.

Could you or a loved one be a walking time bomb? We’re not going to make any assumptions—all that we know is that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you live with somebody susceptible or immunocompromised, you should always seek COVID testing if you’ve been exposed to a high-risk environment. To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with us here.

Still have questions?

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