People are now being diagnosed with coronavirus without having necessarily felt the symptoms. Some patients are saying they only experienced ‘extremely mild’ symptoms prior to testing positive for the virus. This new information is concerning to health officials that as it would indicate that coronavirus is being spread by people who are unaware of having it.
In Padua, Italy, neurologist Dr. Miryam Carecchio was shocked to find out she was infected. “I had no fever, no cold, no sore throat, and I had no major issues,” she told CTV National News.
Carecchio experienced muscle pain in February so she took some Tylenol, took the day off, and went back to work the following day. As time passed, she lost taste in her mouth, but didn’t think the symptoms were close enough to be linked to coronavirus, “I didn’t feel any of my very minor complaints were consistent with this infection,” she said.
Carecchio was tested at the hospital “by chance” as she was not ill, nor had she traveled to any high risk areas. However, after she got the news last Thursday that she was positive, she will be quarantined until March 20.
“I was surprised,” she said. “I was a bit scared, I must say.”
Since then, over 100 of her contacts have been tested for infection and three have tested positive. All three are now in isolation with mild symptoms according to Dr. Carecchio.
Canada recorded its first death from COVID-19, an elderly man in North Vancouver.
There are now 67 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada, in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. Worldwide there are over 113,600 confirmed cases with more than 4,000 people who have perished as a result of the virus. On a more positive note, around 63,000 have become infected and made a recovery.
Many who have been infected claim that the isolation is worse than the symptoms, such as Carl Goldman. He was one of many Canadians quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship for weeks before being transferred to the University of Nebraska for further examination. “Everyone I have spoken with, and it has been many, who have picked up the virus, they seem to have similar symptoms,” he said. “About equal to a very, very minor cold.”
“What’s so weird about the symptoms of the coronavirus, COVID-19, is that unlike a normal cold or flu, I didn’t get a sore throat, never got any sniffles," Goldman said. "No sneezing, no body aches, no headache. Usually with high fever, I would get chills or sweats or a combination of both. I had none of those.”
“I am feeling great today,” he said. “I am doing my 10,000 steps in my rooms, pacing 14 steps until I hit a wall, so that is a lot of paces. I am writing. I’m talking to people. I have an exercise bicycle in here. Other than being stuck here inside a room, I am fine. I am 100 per cent healthy.”
“It’s not possible to recognize the viral infection at the very beginning. Sometimes it will never be possible to recognize it,” said Dr. Carecchio, warning that the lack of symptoms showing may be the biggest threat of the virus.
The symptoms being hard to detect may explain why so many health officials in Italy are becoming infected themselves. More than a dozen health care workers in Carecchio’s hospital are now infected with COVID-19.
“There is an increasing number of doctors who cannot work because they've got infection,” she said. “If you reduce the number of doctors and the medical staff in general, in this system, that is very, very worrying.”
Human contact should be limited, even here in Canada, urged Dr. Carecchio.
“If you don’t touch people, shake hands, kiss people, if you don’t have physical contact, that is very important to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading. Washing hands very frequently. Try to avoid crowded places unless it is strictly necessary,” she said.