Coronavirus in Chile

Chile Includes Asymptomatic Cases in Daily Reports

SANTIAGO – The Ministry of Health started this week with including asymptomatic patients to their daily Covid-19 reports. The number of infected has significantly risen due to this change. The fact that the government originally decided not include them in the daily reports was criticized by experts.

This week, the Ministry of Health announced it will be adding the asymptomatic patients into their daily Covid-19 updates. These patients are those who haven’t shown any symptoms but have tested positive in the PCR test, which looks for traces of the virus in peoples bodies. Earlier, these patients were not included ever since the outbreak started in Chile in March.

The Health Minister, Jaime Mañalich defended the decision to exclude the group of patients in the first weeks by saying, that this group doesn’t need medical care. The change was announced on Thursday, Apr. 30, resulting in 108 new cases being added to the number of infected. That day, according to the government, the number of confirmed cases was 780, but including the asymptomatic cases, the total became 888 new cases, the highest increase in one day. 

Quarantine in Chile Update

What Does Being Asymptomatic Mean?

The Covid-19 virus doesn’t affect everybody the same way. While some people are heavily affected by the virus, some don’t develop any symptoms at all. This makes them asymptomatic carriers, which is the main reason as to why the disease has been so hard to track. Since most asymptomatic carriers aren’t aware that they carry the virus, they end up infecting other people.

There is still no way to properly detect those who are asymptomatic, since the only way to detect the infected is by testing those with similar symptoms. That means that there is a huge gap in most government’s testing capabilities and that the infected rate could be much bigger than indicated in official reports. Some studies suggest that over 25% of those infected by the virus are asymptomatic, while other studies suggest over 50% of coronavirus patients don’t show symptoms.

The WHO released a report in early April urging countries to attempt nationwide tests in response to these   carriers. Some countries with smaller populations, like Iceland, managed to do just that. They managed to test 10% of their 364,134 citizens. By testing on such large scale, Iceland has seen a huge decrease in new infections.

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