Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The asymptomatic oxymoron: testing positive, not getting sick, and “very rarely” spreading the virus

Each day, we are bombarded with news messages about the (absolute) number of corona infections. These messages suggest that infections are worrisome. Actually, these numbers are meaningless because infected people do not automatically get sick – let alone die. Moreover, it’s more likely that more coronavirus infections bring good news. Why?

Many – if not most – infected people are asymptomatic carriers. These people test positive (ie, are infected) and/but do not get sick. Even better: asymptomatic carriers are “very rarely” spreading the disease. Actually, most people must be asymptomatic carriers given the extremely low corona mortality rates of about 0.05% (my blog).

Early June 2020, a top World Health Organization (WHO) official stated that asymptomatic carriers are “very rarely” spreading the coronavirus (eg, the Hill). A day later, the WHO was forced to retract that message (source).

The impact of that WHO message was and is enormous: nearly all governments have created an immense safety net to catch a (very) small number of superspreaders, who are actually responsible for spreading Covid-19. The rest of us suffer the consequences (eg, face masks, job losses, lockdowns, social distancing and social isolation).

Wiki: “A superspreader is an unusually contagious organism infected with a disease. [] a superspreader is an individual who is more likely to infect others, compared with a typical infected person. [] Some cases of superspreading conform to the 80/20 rule, where approximately 20% of infected individuals are responsible for 80% of transmissions [].”

To some extent, a superspreader is like a serial killer, albeit one without an intention of, and awareness of killing people. In both cases, it’s (very) difficult to catch a serial killer and/or a superspreader. Often, they hide in plain sight.

The analogy above has a reason: societies must accept that not everything can be prevented. Even in authoritarian societies, you cannot prevent a (coronavirus) pandemic or serial killings (eg, Wiki). We have already accepted that common flu viruses kill many people, and each year.

Last but not least, preventing new infections will cause a longer duration of the virus. For society as a whole, it’s essential that the number of asymptomatic carriers should be increased rather than controlled. Hence, the oxymoron of asymptomatic carriers: testing positive, not getting sick, and “very rarely” spreading the coronavirus.

“Can specialty physicians prioritize preventative health, physicals, and early screenings if they are doctors for people who are sick?” A quote by Kat Lahr from her 2019 book on the US healthcare system.

Riddles (2015) by Kensington

artists, lyricsvideo, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

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