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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 Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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.