Study: 86 Percent Infected with Coronavirus in Public Are Undetected

Tourists with protective face masks walk through Times Square on March 13, 2020 in New York City. - The World Health Organization said Friday it was not yet possible to say when the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 5,000 people worldwide, will peak. "It's impossible for us to …
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

A study released on Monday from the journal Science shows that a shocking 86 percent of people in public settings could have “stealth” cases of the coronavirus, showing no symptoms but infecting others.

“It’s the undocumented infections which are driving the spread of the outbreak,” study co-author Jeffrey Shaman of Columbia University Mailman School said, according to GeekWire.

The New York Post reported on the study:

Using computer modeling, researchers tracked infections before and after the Chinese city of Wuhan’s travel ban.

The findings indicated that these undocumented infections with no or mild symptoms — known as “stealth” cases — were behind two-thirds of the reported patients.

“The majority of these infections are mild, with few symptoms at all,” Shaman said, the Mercury News reported. “People may not recognize it. Or they think they have a cold.”

“It will continue to present a major challenge to the containment of this outbreak going forward,” Shaman said, and added that it underscores the importance of restrictions on movement to try to slow the spread of the virus.

According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine’s website, 196,106 have been confirmed to have the virus, 7,869 have died worldwide, and 80,840 have recovered as of the time of this writing.

In the United States, 5,853 cases have been confirmed, 97 people have died, and 17 have recovered from the virus.

Follow Penny Starr on Twitter.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.