Study finds silent carriers play major role in COVID-19 spread, highlights importance of masks

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BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – New research suggests more than half of COVID-19 transmissions come from people who have no symptoms.

“This week, if you start to have a stuffy nose, you probably have COVID. There’s that much of it out there,” said Dr. Catherine O’Neal, Infectious Disease Expert at Our Lady of the Lake.

O’Neal said there is very little flu and other viruses out there and people have to get tested. A new study shows how much asymptomatic people spread COVID-19.

The study published in the journal JAMA Open Network found the majority of the spread is from people called silent carriers. They have no symptoms or spread the virus before they get sick. It’s why doctors say wearing a mask is so important.

Dr. Louis Minsky, Chief of Staff at Baton Rouge General says, “that’s almost 60 percent of the population that’s out there that has the virus that could potentially spread it to another person who may be more susceptible than they, who will become much sicker.”

Minsky added the spread we are seeing now is coming from small gatherings where people let down their guard. He explained this third surge is equal to what we saw in July and that’s without cases from Christmas and New Year’s. It’s another reason why doctors say you should wear your mask all the time.

O’Neal suggested, “If they approach you and they don’t have a mask, step back. I feel the community is just run through with COVID and we have to be protecting ourselves, our families, etc.”

Doctors also continue to stress hand washing and social distancing to protect people from the spread of COVID-19.

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