Story at a glance

  • A new study shows four people became infected through asymptomatic transmission.
  • Chinese authorities made the same claim earlier this week.
  • The death toll from the coronavirus passed 200, with nearly 10,000 infected.

The country’s top infectious disease doctor says the Wuhan coronavirus can be spread even without symptoms.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday night, researchers laid out the details of four German business associates who became infected through asymptomatic transmission. 

“There’s no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN. “This study lays the question to rest.”

Researchers say a woman from Shanghai met with the German business associates at a company near Munich on Jan. 20. The woman displayed no signs of the disease during the visit, but became ill on her flight back to China and was confirmed to have the virus on Jan. 26.

Four of the German employees of the company were later diagnosed with coronavirus.

Earlier this week, Chinese authorities said the coronavirus could be passed when people were asymptomatic. 

There have been at least six confirmed cases in the U.S., with one person-to-person transmission between wife and husband, but health officials said the risk to Americans remains low. 

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak passed 200 Friday in China, with nearly 10,000 infected. 

Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency. The U.S. has issued a “Level 4” travel advisory for China, its highest level of warning, over the rapidly spreading outbreak. 

Published on Jan 31, 2020