Chinese researchers have confirmed a case of asymptomatic transmission of the new coronavirus: A 20-year-old woman from Wuhan passed it to five of her family members but never got physically sick herself.
The case study is the first concrete evidence that a person showing no symptoms can pass the coronavirus to others – a fact that could make curbing the outbreak even more challenging.
The researchers behind the finding said the 20-year-old woman was isolated and closely observed at the Fifth People’s Hospital of Anyang. She never become physically ill, even after her family members developed fevers. Two of them got severe pneumonia.
For now, the woman’s asymptomatic transmission appears to be an anomaly, but health experts have documented other instances in which people tested positive for the virus without showing symptoms.
A report from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention analysed records of all of China’s reported cases of the virus from December 8 to February 11 and found that 1.2 percent of patients confirmed to be infected showed no symptoms.
A far higher portion of asymptomatic cases was found on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where 322 of 621 people tested positive but showed no symptoms.
“It’s very clear that the people who are getting caught in that umbrella of reporting are the people that present themselves to a hospital,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a briefing on February 6.
“There’s another whole cohort that is either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic.”
The Chinese woman tested positive for the virus, but never got sick
The 20-year-old woman in the new case study lives in Wuhan – the city where the outbreak started – but travelled to Anyang on January 10. Three days later, she went with five family members to visit a sick patient (who did not have the coronavirus) at the Anyang District Hospital.
On January 17, one of the woman’s family members came down with a fever and sore throat. The following week, the other four relatives developed a fever and respiratory symptoms. Those relatives were admitted to the Fifth People’s Hospital on January 26.
All of the family members tested positive for the coronavirus. The only person they’d had contact with who had been in Wuhan was their 20-year-old relative.
When doctors initially tested the young woman for the coronavirus, the results came back negative. Her CT scan was normal, too. But a day later, she tested positive for the virus even though she wasn’t showing any symptoms. By February 11, the woman still had no fever, cough, sore throat, or gastrointestinal issues.
Doctors concluded that the woman’s incubation period – the time during which she was infectious – was 19 days.
The US and many other countries have established quarantine rules for travellers from Wuhan based on that 14-day window.
Asymptomatic transmission in Germany?
Most of the coronavirus cases so far have been mild, but the virus has killed more than 2,200 people and infected more than 76,000. Though the majority of cases are on the Chinese mainland, the virus has spread to 29 other countries.
A case of asymptomatic transmission similar to the one described in the new case study was previously identified in Germany. But that research turned out to be flawed.
According to a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a woman from Shanghai transmitted the virus to a 33-year-old German businessman in January. Three days later, he felt better and went back to work, then infected at least two of his colleagues. But the researchers had not spoken with the woman, who had in fact experienced mild symptoms at the time of transmission.
That left scientists unsure as to whether people who never experience any symptoms can transmit the disease – until today.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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'Never' or just 'not yet?' How timing affects COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy – Medical Xpress
As COVID-19 case counts continue to rise across Canada, it is clear that we’re far from “out of the woods” with this pandemic. While much is still unknown about the Omicron variant, it seems very likely that existing vaccines will offer protection against severe cases of COVID-19, and Canada is rapidly administering booster shots in an effort to help to bolster immunity.
While vaccination coverage against COVID-19 is relatively high (76.49 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated at the time of writing), there remains a substantial group of Canadians who are either unvaccinated, or only partially vaccinated against COVID-19.
At this point in the pandemic (more than six months after most Canadian adults became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine), should we declare this level of vaccination coverage as the “vaccine ceiling?” Our research suggests the answer is no.
Vaccine hesitancy in a COVID-19 world
As defined by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), the term “vaccine hesitancy” is used to describe “a delay or refusal of vaccination, despite availability of vaccination services.” The range of reasons why some Canadians remain unvaccinated is wide, including (but not limited to) concerns about “personal freedom,” health concerns and the belief that COVID-19 is not as serious a health threat as it’s made out to be.
Much of the existing research on vaccine hesitancy has focused on identifying personal or demographic factors associated with vaccine hesitancy, such as age, gender and socio-economic status. Our research investigated the role of timing in vaccine uptake.
Given the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and its vaccines, not all Canadians gained access to a vaccine at the same time—and many around the world are still waiting for access. As a result, people had to start thinking about their vaccine decisions in hypothetical or future contexts. Because of this, we sought to understand how thinking about COVID-19 vaccine availability along different timelines might influence a person’s vaccine decisions.
In December 2020 (just prior to broad vaccine availability in Canada), we asked Canadian survey respondents about their impending vaccine decisions. Each participant was presented with one variation of the question: “If a coronavirus vaccine was available to you (today, or in one month, or in six months, or in one year), would you get vaccinated, or not?”
In analyzing results from this experiment, we found that the proportion of most enthusiastic participants (those who selected “Yes, as soon as possible” as a response) increased substantially as the proposed date of vaccine availability became more distant.
Even more interesting was our finding that the proportion of hesitant people decreased as the proposed date of vaccination moved further into the future. The proportion who responded that they would “Wait some time” before vaccination, and the proportion who responded, “No, I would not get a coronavirus vaccine,” both decreased as vaccine availability became more distant in time.
This has important implications for Canadian policy-makers. While the swift uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine might be the ideal scenario for squashing case counts, these findings suggest that those who are hesitant aren’t necessarily going to refuse the vaccine altogether.
This finding may also be useful for countries that are much further behind on mass vaccination efforts, as it suggests a delayed vaccine rollout might encounter less hesitancy and have faster uptake.
What are they waiting for?
We also asked open-ended questions about what Canadians would wait for, before getting the vaccine. What we found is that many Canadians who said they were waiting for “some time to pass” were couching their true concerns (for example, waiting for a certain number of other people to be successfully vaccinated first) within the more broad category of “timing.”
It may be useful to remember this finding when having conversations with folks who might be vaccine hesitant. Offering space for people to elaborate on their vaccine concerns might help bypass default responses and reveal alternative reasoning that has the potential to be addressed.
In some cases, these concerns might even be addressed with empathetic listening, by input from trusted experts or from evidence that speaks to the values and beliefs of those who have questions.
As recent Omicron surges remind us, vaccination alone is not a silver bullet in the fight against COVID-19. However, it remains an important tool in mitigating the spread and severity of the disease, and the United Nations Foundation still positions vaccine equity as our best exit strategy for the pandemic.
It seems nearly certain that there will remain a group of Canadians who choose to never receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, our findings suggest that it is unwise to assume that all Canadians who have not yet been vaccinated will never do so. They may just be waiting.
‘Never’ or just ‘not yet?’ How timing affects COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy (2022, January 18)
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Grey Bruce Health Services Has Highest Number Of COVID-19 Patients Yet – Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre
Grey Bruce Health Services says it has its highest number of COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital since the start of the pandemic.
A release from Grey Bruce Health Services (GBHS) says the hospital organization says there are 16 COVID-positive patients in hospital. It says there are 10 patients admitted with COVID who are being treated for their symptoms, and three of those patients are in ICU on ventilators.
Six other patients were admitted for other health reasons, and are positive for COVID-19.
Hospital President and CEO Gary Sims says in a statement, “In previous waves of the pandemic, we accepted patients from Manitoba and the GTA, and now we are faced with transferring patients out of hospital.”
He adds, “We are over capacity almost daily, and our staff and physicians are doing an amazing job under increasingly challenging circumstances.”
The hospital says, “The level of care required for ICU patients with COVID-19 is resource intense, at a time when staff absenteeism is high, and capacity is strained.”
The release explains, all patients who are positive for the virus are treated in isolation rooms with stringent infection control measures in place. Those who are critically ill require a full team of 24/7 support from staff and physicians, and can be hospitalized for several weeks.
It also notes, “With 11 Grey Bruce retirement/long-term care homes reporting an outbreak, hospitalized patients waiting to return to these facilities cannot be discharged, which adds to overcapacity issues across GBHS.”
GBHS recently announced reduced visiting to essential care-givers only. Elective surgeries and procedures have been postponed to conserve human resource and bed capacity.
Sims says, “We know those who are fully vaccinated are less likely to be hospitalized if they contract COVID, and are at less risk of becoming seriously ill compared to those who are unvaccinated,” said Sims.
He says, “We are asking everyone to get fully vaccinated to reduce the pressure on our hospital system, and to help alleviate the strain on our staff and physicians.”
Fourth Port Moody hospital COVID-19 outbreak over – The Tri-City News
There are no current outbreaks of COVID-19 at health-care properties across the Tri-Cities as of this afternoon (Jan. 18).
Fraser Health declared the latest outbreak over within the elder acute-care unit at Eagle Ridge Hospital.
This was the fourth known outbreak of the virus at the Port Moody regional facility since the pandemic began.
Eight lab-confirmed cases were reported during the 13-day alert, including five patients and three staff members. No deaths were recorded.
“With the implementation of comprehensive strategies, there is no longer an outbreak at this site,” a Fraser Health release reads.
Historically, 56 COVID-19 infections have been detected at Eagle Ridge Hospital including the five found between Jan. 5 and today.
During the previous three outbreaks, six people died due to complications with the virus — all during the first declaration in March 2021.
As well, there have been three known COVID-19 outbreaks in Eagle Ridge Manor throughout the course of the pandemic, which is a long-term care facility at the hospital.
Between November 2020 and February 2021, seven total cases of the virus were detected including five staff members; no deaths were recorded.
This comes nearly a week after Fraser Health ended the COVID-19 outbreak at Hawthorne Lodge in Port Coquitlam.
As of this publication, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is reporting a 54 per cent triple-vaccination rate among eligible residents aged 50 years and older — a jump of near 10 per cent in the last week.
Currently, 54 per cent of kids aged five to 11 in the region have received a first dose of vaccine against the virus, which is the fourth highest average in Fraser Health.
The Tri-Cities also has a 91 per cent double-vaccination rate among those aged 12 and up, as well as a 93 per cent single-dose rate.
Across B.C., a record 854 COVID-19 patients are now filling hospital beds as of today, with 112 of those in intensive care units (ICUs).
The total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in B.C. is 35 more than yesterday (Jan. 17), and it follows the government’s decision last week to broaden the categories of COVID-19 patients that are counted.
Newly counted are those who catch COVID-19 while already in hospital, people who entered COVID-19 for COVID-19 illness and are no longer deemed infectious, and COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals who normally reside outside the province.
– with a file from Glen Korstrom, Business In Vancouver
— Tri-City News (@TriCityNews) January 19, 2022
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