More From The Good News Corner: People With COVID Mostly Don’t Infect Anyone!

Surprisingly, new computer modeling shows that 80% of those who test positive for COVID-19 never infect anyone else with the virus, reports Sabin Russell of the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center in Seattle, USA.

Instead, new research suggests the disease spreads quickly in communities because of a convergence of “wrong place at the wrong time” circumstances. Intense burses of transmission happen when groups are in contact with someone who happens to be in a very brief phase of being highly contagious: the dreaded Super Spreader events we’ve read about, like choral group rehearsals or lockdown-defying parties.

While existing data shows that people who are infected with COVID-19 may shed tiny amounts of the virus for weeks, the new model suggests that they usually only shed enough to be contagious for one or two days.

On the other hand, the model suggests that for many (though not all) infected people, the two-day highly contagious period occurs before the person feels any symptoms. By the time they feel sick they may already have spread the virus to dozens of others.

Dr. Joshua T. Schiffer, who led the research, emphasized that the model cannot rule out the possibility that a small minority of infected people may remain contagious for a much longer period (after they have symptoms).

The ethical thing to do as an individual is to walk around with the assumption that you’re infectious and contagious, and that it’s your responsibility to protect the public. That doesn’t change at all,” he said.