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Just 2% of coronavirus−positive individuals carry 90% of the virus circulating in communities

Colorado, Coronavirus, Health, Infection, PCR, Science, Symptoms, Testing, Transmission, USA

We analyzed data from saliva-based COVID-19 screening deployed on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Our dataset is unique in that all SARS-CoV-2−positive individuals reported no symptoms at the time of saliva collection, and therefore were infected but asymptomatic or presymptomatic. We found that 1) the distribution of viral loads observed in our asymptomatic college population was indistinguishable from what has been reported in hospitalized populations; 2) regardless of symptomatic status, approximately 50% of individuals who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 seem to be in noninfectious phases of the infection; and 3) just 2% of infected individuals carry 90% of the virions circulating within communities, serving as viral “supercarriers” and likely also superspreaders

PNAS paper


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