Most asymptomatic COVID-19 cases remain that way, study suggests

4 minute read

The majority of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients aboard a cruise ship remained asymptomatic throughout the course of infection, new research suggests

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The latest

  • Afternoon update: Majority of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients remain so throughout infection, study finds.
  • Morning update: loss of smell or taste now a criteria for suspected COVID-19, and who are the guilty culprits stockpiling bog roll?
  • Victorian GP diagnosed with COVID-19 after patient contact, and the latest COVID-19 infection figures for Australia.

4.30pm, June 15

  • The majority of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients aboard a cruise ship remained asymptomatic throughout the course of infection, new research suggests.
    A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the disease course in 712 individuals with COVID-19 who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, 58% of whom were asymptomatic at the time of testing.
    Among 96 of the asymptomatic individuals who were transferred from the ship to a hospital in Japan for observation, 11 subsequently developed symptoms within a median of four days after the first positive test, and these individuals were likely to be older. However the rest remained asymptomatic.

12.05pm, June 15

  • The clinical criteria for a suspected case of COVID-19 now includes loss of smell or taste, alongside fever or acute respiratory infection, according to an update from the RACGP. The epidemiological criteria, which must also be met for a suspected case, is either close contact with a confirmed case; international or interstate travel; cruise ship travel or work; working in healthcare, aged or residential care; having lived in or travelled through a hotspot; or having been hospitalised for another, unrelated reason.
  • Wondering who was really to blame for the shortage of toilet paper and other essentials at the height of the pandemic? Older people who felt more threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and who were also more conscientious, well-organised, and forward-planning, according to study published in PLoS ONE.
    Researchers surveyed 996 people across 22 countries using a voluntary, anonymous online survey promoted through websites and social media. The survey asked about shopping practices generally, and during the pandemic, and also used a personality scale.
    Unsurprisingly, those who felt more threatened by COVID-19 tended to be older, and that perceived threat was associated with a greater likelihood of shopping regularly, purchasing and storing more toilet paper.
    “Given that stockpiling is objectively unrelated to saving lives or jobs during a health crisis, this finding supports the notion that toilet paper functions as a purely subjective symbol of safety,” the authors commented.
    Conscientiousness was also associated with toilet paper stockpiling, because those individuals were more likely to shop diligently and plan for future need.
    And what do we do with this information? Chill the heck out, the authors say: “The present study suggests that low anxiety and little desire to plan ahead are the best psychological protective factors to refrain from irrationally stockpiling limited resources in times of a health crisis.”

9.30am, June 15

  • A Victorian GP is one of nine confirmed COVID-19 cases in Victoria yesterday, after treating a patient who was later diagnosed with the infection. The GP, who was asymptomatic, went into quarantine as soon as they learned they had been in contact with the virus, but in the intervening few days had worked at three different medical clinics in Melbourne. Three other cases were in returned travellers in quarantine.
    NSW recorded nine new cases in the 24 hours to 9pm yesterday, eight of which were returned travellers in quarantine but one was a teacher at Laguna Street Public School in Caringbah, which has now closed for 10 days.
    Here are the latest confirmed COVID-19 infections from around Australia to 9pm yesterday:
    National – 7320, with 102 deaths and 6838 recovered
    ACT – 108
    NSW – 3128
    NT – 29
    QLD – 1065
    SA – 440
    TAS – 228
    VIC – 1720
    WA – 602

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