Whole-town study reveals more than 40% of COVID-19 infections had no symptoms

A study of COVID-19 in the quarantined Italian town of Vò, where most of the population was tested, reveals the importance of asymptomatic cases.

The authors of the new research, from the University of Padova and at Imperial College London, published today in Nature, suggest asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people are an important factor in the transmission of COVID-19. They also argue that widespread testing, isolating infected people, and a community lockdown effectively stopped the outbreak in its tracks.

The town of Vò, with a population of nearly 3,200 people, experienced Italy’s first COVID-19 death on 21 February 2020. The town was put into immediate quarantine for 14 days. During this time, researchers tested most of the population for infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, both at the start of the lockdown (86 percent tested) and after two weeks (72 percent tested).

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