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Up To Half Of Infected People Show No Symptoms: Icelandic Study Provides Insights On Coronavirus

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Data gathered so far from Iceland suggests that anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of people infected with the novel Coronavirus show no symptoms. These carriers of the virus, while not falling sick themselves, play a role in ‘blindly’ transmitting the illness to others.

This, along with experience from other China, the United States and other diverse countries, shows that social distancing will remain one of the most powerful tools available to policymakers in the global fight against the pandemic. Preventing asymptomatic carriers from infecting those who are more vulnerable to Covid-19 due to underlying health conditions will remain a major concern.

Iceland, with its small population and effective healthcare system, has been performing extensive tests on its entire population and sharing the results with the world, so as to help medical experts and policymakers better understand the virus outbreak and formulate a response to it. The island nation has tested some 5 percent of its population. By contrast, the United States has been able to test less than 0.2 percent of its population. Iceland’s small population puts it in a unique situation to carry out such a testing strategy, but it highlights how other countries would benefit from more extensive testing of their own much larger populations.

Icelandic experts say that their own country did not need a lockdown policy to combat the virus, because authorities have extensive data on the population and the spread of the virus. This makes it easier to trace the spread of the virus through the population. Moreover, the country has an aggressive quarantining policy for those found to be infected.

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Iceland began testing its population in early February, weeks before its first coronavirus-related death.


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