April 24th, 2020
In the British Medical Journal we see some data on viral transmission rates. "Results 3497 respiratory, stool, serum, and urine samples were collected from patients after admission and evaluated for SARS-CoV-2 RNA viral load. Infection was confirmed in all patients by testing sputum and saliva samples. RNA was detected in the stool of 55 (59%) patients and in the serum of 39 (41%) patients. The urine sample from one patient was positive for SARS-CoV-2. The median duration of virus in stool
(22 days, interquartile range 17-31 days) was significantly longer than in respiratory (18 days, 13-29 days; P=0.02) and serum samples (16 days, 11-21 days; P<0.001). The median duration of virus in the respiratory samples of patients with severe disease (21 days, 14-30 days) was significantly longer than in patients with mild disease (14 days, 10-21 days; P=0.04). In the mild group, the viral loads peaked in respiratory samples in the second week from disease onset, whereas viral load continued to be high during the third week in the severe group. Virus duration was longer in patients older than 60 years and in male patients.
Conclusion The duration of SARS-CoV-2 is significantly longer in stool samples than in respiratory and serum samples, highlighting the need to strengthen the management of stool samples in the prevention and control of the epidemic, and the virus persists longer with higher load and peaks later in the respiratory tissue of patients with severe disease." (Zheng et. al. 2020)
How infectious these patients are at these later points is an unknown. It is essentially a set of data points letting us know that infectious spread is possible as it declines for weeks. Yikes.
Although, this may also be part of the reality that so many people are getting infected without knowing how they got exposed to it as the data has shown. Thank God the IFR is 0.2% based on the most recent studies.