Clearing confusion on asymptomatic spread

Confusion abounds about the difference between asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections when it comes to the pandemic coronavirus. Dr. John Lynch, medical director of infection prevention and control at Harborview, explains asymptomatic means someone doesn't show symptoms the entire time they have this coronavirus in their body.

Pre-symptomatic describes the period of time before someone develops signs of illness. But, whether someone is asymptomatic or presymptomatic doesn't really matter to the general public. Either way, anyone carrying the  coronavirus can spread the disease. 

"I think what we really want to send home is that you can have no symptoms, feel well and transmit this virus to other people," Lynch says.

That's why the practices of wearing a mask, washing your hands, and physical distancing are so important to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

UW Medicine