Clinical Course and Molecular Viral Shedding Among Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Community Treatment Center in the Republic of Korea

This cohort study (n=303) found the viral load of patients with Covid-19 infection who were asymptomatic was similar to that in symptomatic patients, and the authors therefore suggest that isolation of infected persons should be performed regardless of symptoms.

SPS commentary:

An explosive outbreak among a religious group in Daegu, Republic of Korea, in February 2020 led to a vigorous containment strategy, including massive testing and active contact tracing. As the number of cases surpassed the capacity of the health care system, the Ministry of Health and Welfare of Korea decided to isolate asymptomatic and pauci-symptomatic patients in community treatment centres. This study describes the course of patients isolated in one of these centres, providing information on the clinical course of asymptomatic people with SARS-CoV-2 infection, on which there is currently limited data.

The authors conclude that transmission by asymptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 may be a key factor in community spread, and therefore population-based surveillance and isolation of asymptomatic patients may be required.


JAMA Internal Medicine