Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

Coronavirus patients are most likely to infect other people in the early stages of the disease, even before they start showing symptoms, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: This can help inform public health officials' efforts to trace and isolate a confirmed patients' known contacts.

  • It also means that stopping the spread of the virus will be challenging, as people are most contagious before they may even know they have the virus.

Details: The study, which focused on confirmed coronavirus patients in Taiwan and their contacts, found that the novel coronavirus has a relatively short infectious period.

  • The risk of transmission is highest around the time a patient becomes symptomatic, and decreases with time.
  • "Because the onset of overt clinical symptoms, such as fever, dyspnea, and signs of pneumonia, usually occurred 5 to 7 days after initial symptom onset, the infection might well have been transmitted at or before the time of detection," the authors write.

Go deeper: The good and bad news about asymptomatic coronavirus cases

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Spain's government announced on Friday that it will shut down nightclubs, ban public smoking and restrict nursing home visits as coronavirus cases climb in the country.

By the numbers: Over 761,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and another 21 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins University data. More than 13 million have recovered from the virus.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 21,056,850 — Total deaths: 762,293— Total recoveries: 13,100,902Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m ET: 5,306,215 — Total deaths: 168,334 — Total recoveries: 1,796,309 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: CDC: Survivors of COVID-19 have up to three months of immunity Fauci believes normalcy will return by "the end of 2021" with vaccine — The pandemic's toll on mental health — FDA releases first-ever list of medical supplies in shortage.
  4. States: California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.
  5. Cities: Coronavirus pandemic dims NYC's annual 9/11 Tribute in Light.
  6. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  7. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.
Aug 12, 2020 - Health

America's flying blind on its coronavirus response

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A month after the Trump administration changed how hospital data is reported, the public release of this data "has slowed to a crawl," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: This is the latest example of how the world's wealthiest country just can't get it together.