Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients may actually be showing some symptoms, experts at Cox and Mercy say

Published: Jul. 12, 2020 at 8:36 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2020 at 8:37 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Despite a lot of the coronavirus being unknown, local doctors are learning more about infected patients who don’t have symptoms. The list of symptoms for COVID-19 seems to be growing every day, and it may be hard for people to differentiate symptoms from allergies or a common cold.

Dr. Robin Trotman, Cox’s infectious disease doctor, said the large number of asymptomatic people in the community can leave us vulnerable.

“Three months ago we had no idea there would be thousands of people diagnosed around the state that reported no symptoms, Trotman said.

To Dr. Trotman, being asymptomatic doesn’t always mean no symptoms. He said a lot of those people have some sort of symptoms.

“If you drill down, a lot of those people have some sort of symptoms,” he said. “They were achy, they had a little headache. I take a lot of these calls so that asymptomatic [cases], often if you ask the right questions, you’ll find symptoms.”

Dr. William Sistrunk, Mercy’s infectious disease doctor, said a lot of asymptomatic patients usually don’t see a doctor.

“We know that people that are asymptomatic may not necessarily require any treatment or even be seen by a physician,” Sistrunk said.

However, asymptomatic patients can still transmit the virus.

“Those people can transmit disease,” Trotman said. “They probably don’t transmit as much as somebody actively coughing in somebody’s face right. So when people say asymptomatic people do or don’t transmit, it’s relative. It’s a continuum most likely.”

Because asymptomatic people can unknowingly transmit the disease, both doctors agree that’s why masking is essential in preventing the spread.

“That’s why it’s so important for us all, whether you have symptoms or not, to be wearing a mask all the time when you have to be out,” Sistrunk said.

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