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80 Percent of People in This Age Group Are Asymptomatic

Best Life logo Best Life 6/17/2020 Allie Hogan
a close up of a child wearing a hat © Provided by Best Life

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, it has become clear that asymptomatic COVID-19 cases are cause for concern. A study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that almost half of the cases studied were infected by someone who did not show symptoms. Asymptomatic cases are especially dangerous because the coronavirus carrier does not know they have the virus, which means they are still living life normally, which can potentially contribute to more transmissions. That's why identifying asymptomatic individuals and ensuring they self-isolate could be integral to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As it turns out, one age group in particular has an overwhelmingly high number of asymptomatic cases.

A new study published in Nature Medicine looked at transmission models to estimate disease susceptibility and gain a deeper understanding of how age relates to coronavirus cases. Researchers found that "clinical symptoms manifest in 21 percent of infections in 10- to 19-year-olds, rising to 69 percent of infections in people aged over 70 years." That means that 79 percent of middle schoolers and teenagers do not show symptoms if they contract the coronavirus.

a close up of a boy: teenage black girl wearing a face mask © Provided by Best Life teenage black girl wearing a face mask

While it's appeared  to many that younger people have been spared by the coronavirus more than any other age group, this study suggests that a large number of pre-teens and teens have had the virus without realizing it. Although asymptomatic spread has been a point of contention, experts insist it happens, although they are unsure on what scale. "We know that you can be asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic and spread infection. The question that is unresolved is what portion of secondary cases are a result of this mode of transmission," Thomas Russo, MD, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo, previously told Best Life.

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Since those between the ages of 10 and 19 are very likely to be asymptomatic if they have the coronavirus, they should be especially mindful when in public spaces by continuously adhering to social distancing and mask etiquette. These precautions could help slow the spread of coronavirus if young people have the virus but are not exhibiting symptoms. And for more on coronavirus uncertainty, Your Coronavirus Test Results Are Definitely Wrong If You Made This Mistake.

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