People

Even Asymptomatic People Carry the Coronavirus in High Amounts

Of all the coronavirus’s qualities, perhaps the most surprising has been that seemingly healthy people can spread it to others. This trait has made the virus difficult to contain, and continues to challenge efforts to identify and isolate infected people.

Most of the evidence for asymptomatic spread has been based on observation (a person without symptoms nevertheless sickened others) or elimination (people became ill but could not be connected to anyone with symptoms).

A new study in South Korea, published Thursday in JAMA Internal Medicine, offers more definitive proof that people without symptoms carry just as much virus in their nose, throat and lungs as those with symptoms, and for almost as long.

“It’s important data, that’s for sure,” said Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong who was not involved in the work. “And it does confirm what we’ve suspected for a long

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Researchers Debate Infecting People With Coronavirus to Test Vaccines

They would be quarantined and monitored closely, and if they became ill would receive the best known treatment — possibly the antiviral drug remdesivir, or convalescent plasma from people who had recovered from the illness. But so far, remdesivir’s benefits have been described as “modest,” and studies of convalescent plasma are still underway. The steroid dexamethasone lowered the death rate in one study, but is recommended only for those who become severely ill.

The article by Dr. Eyal’s group struck a chord with Josh Morrison, 34. Eight years ago, he donated a kidney to a stranger, and now runs an advocacy group for kidney donors. The opportunity to save someone else’s life meant a great deal to him, and he sees challenge trials as a chance to do it again.

“If it could lead to a speedier creation of a vaccine for the disease Covid-19, we are willing — without

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Most People With Coronavirus Won’t Spread It. Why Do a Few Infect Many?

Following a birthday party in Texas on May 30, one man reportedly infected 17 members of his family with the coronavirus.

Reading reports like these, you might think of the virus as a wildfire, instantly setting off epidemics wherever it goes. But other reports tell another story altogether.

In Italy, for example, scientists looked at stored samples of wastewater for the earliest trace of the virus. Last week they reported that the virus was in Turin and Milan as early as Dec. 18. But two months would pass before northern Italy’s hospitals began filling with victims of Covid-19. So those December viruses seem to have petered out.

As strange as it may seem, these reports don’t contradict each other. Most infected people don’t pass on the coronavirus to someone else. But a small number pass it on to many others in so-called superspreading events.

“You can think about throwing a

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$1 Billion in Government Coronavirus Payments Went to Dead People

Congress’s watchdog on Thursday criticized the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is inaccurately counting coronavirus tests and that more than $1 billion in payments had been issued to dead people.

The 403-page investigation by the Government Accountability Office was ordered in a provision of the CARES Act, the $2 trillion emergency pandemic aid legislation, which Congress passed in March. So far, $643 billion of this allocation has been spent, the auditors said.

The report is a sobering review of the first six months of the pandemic. In its typically understated language, the agency wrote that the federal government’s response was slow, disorganized and insufficient to protect the public, despite years of warnings that a pandemic was inevitable. The watchdog agency also noted that the White House Office of Management and Budget had not directed federal agencies to reveal how

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