Coronavirus: almost half of infections happen before symptoms appear
Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: almost half of infections happen before symptoms appear

Credit: Belga

In 44% of cases, people infected with the new coronavirus (Covid-19) infect other people before they even start showing any symptoms themselves, the Federal Public Health Service announced on Tuesday.

A study, published in the scientific journal Nature Medicine last week, showed that 44% of infections take place before any symptoms appear. The researchers were looking into how people keep infecting each other, even in lockdown situations, announced professor and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, during the daily coronavirus press briefing.

44% of the infections take place in the first two days before the onset of the first symptoms, and 56% happen when people are already ill. “That means that, on average, about half of the infections take place before we even show any symptoms,” said Van Gucht.

“It has also been shown that the contagiousness of the virus peaks at the very beginning of symptoms. The virus is produced the most then,” he said, adding that this illustrates the importance of immediately isolating yourself at the first sign of symptoms.

Related News:

 

“Do not think ‘it is just a sore throat, it will pass’, but self-isolate immediately, and contact your GP,” Van Gucht said. “It is at this moment that you are at the highest risk of infecting someone else,” he added.

Preventing those infections, before any symptoms have even appeared and people are not aware they are carrying the virus yet, is more difficult, but ‘contact tracing’ could be a possible strategy, according to Van Gucht.

The announcement follows the news that Belgium will hire 2,000 investigators who will work to trace the people who have been in contact with confirmed or suspected coronavirus patients, the so-called “corona detectives.”

“When people receive a message on their phone, or from a doctor, telling them that they have been in contact with an infected person, and may be carrying the virus themselves, they can isolate themselves at home in advance, in such a way that they will not infect anyone in those two days before the symptoms occur,” Van Gucht added.

“By applying this systematically, we will be able to keep this virus away in the future,” he said.

On Tuesday, Belgium reported a total number of 40,956 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with a death toll of almost 6,000.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
EU Digital Covid Certificate becomes an international success story
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...
EMA starts evaluating Pfizer vaccine for children over 5 years old
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has started evaluating an application to extend the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children ...
Energy prices: EU’s demand and supply dilemma in importing natural gas
The European Commission adopted last week a plan on how to tackle the rise in global energy prices in the short-term while relying on the transition ...
Tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels’ outskirts to airport
Works on a tram line connecting Brussels, the NATO headquarters and Brussels Airport in Zaventem, which could attract up to 10,000 passengers a day, ...
SKYFALL: European police complete counter-drone training in Antwerp
In a joint project between Belgium’s federal police and the Brussels Capital Ixelles Policing Area, 15 European police officers visited Antwerp to ...
Offshore wind farms could help reach climate neutrality by 2050
A study carried out by the Bureau fédérale du Plan (BFP) – an independent Belgian organisation that investigates questions of environmental and ...
Will Brussels bounce back?
The lockdowns have tested the city and forced it to confront key questions about its future. Derek Blyth looks back at an extraordinary moment in our ...
STIB launches free transport for Museum Night Fever this weekend
STIB buses will run between Brussels museums for free on Saturday night as part of the Museum Night Fever celebrations taking over the capital.  ...