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Silent Coronavirus Spreaders Could Unleash Second Wave of Disaster

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Silent Spreader of COVID-19

A burst of fresh data on the prevalence of “silent,” or asymptomatic, carriers of the 2019 novel coronavirus points to the looming danger of ending America’s national shutdown early.

Classified Chinese government data suggest “silent carriers” could make up at least one-third of the country’s positive cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post recently reported. Approximately 43,000 people in China who had tested positive for COVID-19 last month had no immediate symptoms. And those cases were not included in the official national tally of confirmed cases, which had hit 80,000 at the end of February, the paper said.

Last week, China reported no new local infections for the first time since the outbreak started in December. And after weeks of lockdown, the city of Wuhan—where the global pandemic originated—said on Tuesday that public transportation was reopening and that residents would be allowed to leave the city itself starting on April 8.

But as extensive testing continues, authorities in Wuhan have found new cases of asymptomatic—or mildly symptomatic—infection, sparking concerns about how many contagious people have been circulating freely. Fresh data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday about a nursing home in Washington state only served to compound those fears.

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