CHINA: Coronavirus Could Spread Two Weeks Before Symptoms Show by BOB PRICE for Breitbart
A Chinese health official reports the Wuhan novel coronavirus could be contagious for up to two weeks before a patient becomes symptomatic. This means people who are not yet showing symptoms of coronavirus-related illness could be spreading the virus to other contacts.
China’s National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei told reporters during a press briefing on Sunday said the incubation period for the novel coronavirus is one to 14 days, Reuters reported. In a shocking continuation, the health commissioner said the virus is contagious during the incubation period — before patients exhibit symptoms of illness.
This is a dramatic difference from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002 and 2003 when only patients exhibiting symptoms could spread the disease.
Dr. William Schaffner, an advisor to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN, “This is a game changer.”
He said this makes containing the spread of the virus much more difficult when a patient can be spreading the virus for up to two weeks without knowing they have contracted the virus.
“It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,” Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, explained. “This is worse than we anticipated.”
Other health officials in the U.S. expressed doubt about the Chinese health commissioner’s analysis, CNN stated.
Another CDC advisor, Dr. Paul Offitt told CNN that given Ma’s statement, health officials should “cast a wider net” in an effort to alert potentially infected patients.
This makes the coronavirus more like the flu than SARS or even ebola, BBC Health and Science Correspondent Jame Gallagher reported.
“People with Sars (the last deadly coronavirus outbreak to hit China) and Ebola are contagious only when symptoms appear,” Gallagher wrote. “Flu, however, is the most famous example of a virus that you spread before you even know you’re ill.”