COVID-19: Just the Facts

We’re publishing an original piece today by Dr Will Jones, one of Lockdown Sceptics’ editors and regular contributors, which tries to answer 12 key questions about COVID-19 as factually as possible, referencing the best, most up-to-date evidence. We’ve decided to stick it just below ‘About’ in the main menu on the right-hand side.

The questions he considers are:

  • How deadly is COVID-19?
  • How is COVID-19 Spread?
  • What about asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission?
  • Do lockdowns work?
  • Does social distancing work?
  • Are lockdowns harmful?
  • Are the vaccines effective?
  • Are the vaccines safe?
  • Do masks work?
  • Are masks safe?
  • Are effective treatments available?
  • What should governments have done?

To give you a taster, here’s Will’s answer to question number three: What about asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission?

Asymptomatic infection is typically characterised by a much lower viral load and consequently much lower infectiousness. The study in JAMA on household secondary attack rate (SAR) cited above found that asymptomatic infections had a SAR of just 0.7% versus a SAR of 18% for symptomatic infection. The proportion of infections that are asymptomatic increases among those with immunity from previous infection or vaccination, showing that it is a characteristic of immunity.

People become infectious around two days prior to onset of symptoms as viral load peaks. This pre-symptomatic transmission is estimated to account for around 6.4% of spread, according to a study of actual transmission events from Singapore. Modelled estimates of the contribution of pre-symptomatic spread appear to go too high.

This means that people without symptoms, whether asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, are not major drivers of the epidemic.

The whole thing is very much worth reading in full.

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