Scientists: Wuhan coronavirus can spread before symptoms was flawed


Public health experts have criticized a report, published last week, that suggested the coronavirus could spread before the onset of symptoms.

The study had seemed to confirm earlier statements from Chinese officials that the virus could spread asymptomatically. In an email to CNN on Tuesday, German public health officials said the report was incorrect.

“In contrast to first reports according to which the index case (a Chinese traveling in Germany) seemed to have been asymptomatic during the time of likely transmission here, recent interviews by the Bavarian health authorities and the Robert Koch Institute in Chinese language revealed that she might have had mild unspecific symptoms including back pain and also took antipyretic medication,” the officials said.

Marc Lipsitch, a Harvard public health professor, said the error had likely been because the authors were “inadequately careful … an error that is understandable in a crisis situation, but is still problematic.”

The Public Health Agency of Sweden also called the study’s conclusions “based on misconceptions,” adding that it had not provided “scientifically substantiated facts.”We believe that it is impossible for the new coronavirus to infect throughout the incubation period,” said the Public Health Agency.



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