Post-lockdown SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid screening in nearly ten million residents of Wuhan, China shows no asymptomatic transmission.
The citywide nucleic acid screening of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Wuhan recruited nearly 10 million people, and found no newly confirmed cases with COVID-19. The detection rate of asymptomatic positive cases was very low, and there was no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic positive persons to traced close contacts. There were no asymptomatic positive cases in 96.4% of the residential communities.
Previous studies have shown that asymptomatic individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus were infectious3, and might subsequently become symptomatic4. Compared with symptomatic patients, asymptomatic infected persons generally have low quantity of viral loads and a short duration of viral shedding, which decrease the transmission risk of SARS-CoV-25. In the present study, virus culture was carried out on samples from asymptomatic positive cases, and found no viable SARS-CoV-2 virus. All close contacts of the asymptomatic positive cases tested negative, indicating that the asymptomatic positive cases detected in this study were unlikely to be infectious.