Coronavirus: Is it as deadly as previously thought?

Coronavirus patients may no longer pose a threat of spreading the disease after 11 days even if testing positive afterward.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

The coronavirus that has infected over five million, left hundreds of thousands of people dead and sent the world’s economy into a tailspin may be weaker than previously thought as researchers learn more about the disease.

New findings seem to point in that direction.

1. Recovery after 11 days

The prevailing theory among researchers is that in order not to infect others, a coronavirus patient needs to test negative twice after a 14-day period.

As a result, governments worldwide have been enforcing strict coronavirus regulations to stop infected patients from spreading the disease to others.

According to a new study, coronavirus patients who are not immunocompromised may no longer pose a threat of spreading the disease after 11 days even if testing positive afterward.

“Active viral replication drops quickly after the first week, and the viable virus was not found after the second week of illness,” a joint research paper by Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Academy of Medicine said.

Why some patients still test positive after 11 days is because the test could be picking up “fragments of the virus that are no longer viable for spreading the infection,” the study said.

Although the sample size consisted of only 73 people, the research team believes their findings will be replicated in larger studies.

2. Infection via surfaces

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated its website to emphasize the coronavirus does not spread easily on surfaces.

Prior to March 11, the CDC  placed “Contaminated surfaces and objects” in its own separate category. But since then it is listed in a subheader under “The virus does not spread easily in other ways.”

Speaking to The Washington Post  on Thursday, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said the revisions were the product of an “internal review” and “usability testing.”

Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech, believes the reason why the CDC changed its coronavirus guidance is because the chances of active droplets infecting a person are quite low.

“First, the virus would have to be transmitted to the surface in large enough amounts. Then, it would have to survive on that surface until it was touched by someone else. And even if it was eventually transferred to, say, a person’s finger, it would then have to survive on the skin until that person happened to touch an eye or mouth,” Marr said as quoted by Dubai’s Gulf News.

3. Mortality rate close to the flu

Original modeling estimated 2.2 million deaths in America and 500,000 in the U.K. Those numbers have since been revised drastically downward. Early reports and the terrible toll the virus took in places like Italy sent the world into lockdown in an effort to stop the virus from claiming any more victims.

However, new estimates released last week by the CDC last week show the virus may not be as deadly as once thought.

The CDC report titled “COVID-19 Pandemic Panning Scenarios” listed five mathematical scenarios to help guide the federal government’s coronavirus policies.

The best-case scenario estimates the coronavirus fatality rate tops off at 0.26 percent, nearly double the seasonal flu at 0.1 percent and a far cry from SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 10 and 36 percent, respectively.

However, in regards to patients over 65, the fatality rate is estimated to be 1.3 percent.