Are Coronavirus Super Spreaders Real and What Can We Expect?
A “super spreader” is a person or another organism that helps a virus spread faster than it normally would. In this case, we are talking about the newest Corona strand, called COVID-19, a virus that first appeared in Wuhan, China, but has now attained global presence and notoriety. With this in mind, the presence of super spreaders could be devastating.
How It’s Transmitted
The virus, like many others, is transmitted from person to person. What facilitates the spreading is the fact that the coronavirus can be asymptomatic at first, meaning that the infected persons may have no idea that they are carriers.
Usually, when you have a contagious disease, you are likely to infect one or two people before you recognize your symptoms and isolate yourself. This is one of the reasons many have taken this disease lightly, as the infection pattern and the appropriate reaction to it could be calculated if it were a normal virus.
What makes a super spreader? While there are diseases out there that force a person to infect a few other people, viruses like this one and SARS turn some of their carriers into super spreaders. They can infect dozens of people.
Super spreaders are a phenomenon that occurs with certain viruses, but not in others, and not all of the infected become super spreaders. At the time of writing, there is no official explanation as to why this may be the case.
Due to super spreaders, it may be very difficult to determine or predict the spreading of the disease. If we pair that with the fact that there are no symptoms for the first few days, the prospects seem grim. That being said, there is no reason to panic. Most people who contract the disease are not, in fact, super spreaders and a study from Wuhan states that the expected transmission rate is about 2.2 persons per infected individual.
Let us talk numbers for a second. At the time of writing, there are over 75,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and a bit more than 2,000 deaths, according to worldometers.info. 74,000 people infected and 2,006 dead are all from China. The disease is clearly not as deadly as some other strands of the virus that the world had the misfortune of encountering, but it is definitely more contagious.
The second-most infected place is the yacht called Diamond Princess with around 600 people. There are currently 29 countries affected by the disease, but, as long as we don’t panic and limit unnecessary traveling, we should be fine. Super spreaders are not common enough to help the disease reach the global plague status and simple hygiene precautions are enough to keep the virus at bay.