Transmission roles of symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases: a modelling study.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) asymptomatic cases are hard to identify, impeding transmissibility estimation. The value of COVID-19 transmissibility is worth further elucidation for key assumptions in further modelling studies. Through a population-based surveillance network, we collected data on 1342 confirmed cases with a 90-days follow-up for all asymptomatic cases. An age-stratified compartmental model containing contact information was built to estimate the transmissibility of symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. The difference in transmissibility of a symptomatic and asymptomatic case depended on age and was most distinct for the middle-age groups. The asymptomatic cases had a 66.7% lower transmissibility rate than symptomatic cases, and 74.1% (95% CI 65.9-80.7) of all asymptomatic cases were missed in detection. The average proportion of asymptomatic cases was 28.2% (95% CI 23.0-34.6). Simulation demonstrated that the burden of asymptomatic transmission increased as the epidemic continued and could potentially dominate total transmission. The transmissibility of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases is high and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases play a significant role in outbreaks.





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Publication Info

Tan, Jianbin, Yang Ge, Leonardo Martinez, Jimin Sun, Changwei Li, Adrianna Westbrook, Enfu Chen, Jinren Pan, et al. (2022). Transmission roles of symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases: a modelling study. Epidemiology and infection, 150. p. e171. 10.1017/s0950268822001467 Retrieved from

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Jianbin Tan

Postdoctoral Associate

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