Wu-W.H.O. Kung Flu patients three times less likely now to have it be highly contagious:
Researchers found that just 25 percent of nasal swabs from hospitalized patients in April detected low levels of the virus.
However, just five weeks later, nearly three-quarters of samples from patients had low viral loads – representing a 180 percent jump.
What’s more, the decline in viral loads was linked to a decrease in death rate.
The team, from Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan, says it believes that as states implemented measures, such as social distancing and face mask mandates, the number of severe cases fell.
For the study, the team looked at viral loads of SARS-CoV-2 obtained from nasopharyngeal samples over two months.
A total of 708 hospitalized patients at Detroit Medical Center were examined between the period of April 4 and June 5, 2020.
To estimate the viral load, researchers used what is known as a cycle threshold (Ct) value for each sample, with a higher Ct indicating a lower viral load.
High, intermediate, and low viral load samples were defined as having a Ct value of 25 or under, from 26 to 36, and 37 or over, respectively.
During the first week of the study period, nearly 50 percent of viral load samples fell in the intermediate category.
By comparison, only one-quarter each were classified as high or low.
However, as the weeks went by, there was a decline in the percentage of samples in the high and intermediate viral load groups and a rise of samples in the low category.
During the last week of the study period, 70 percent of the positive coronavirus samples had low viral loads.
About 20 percent of samples were in the intermediate category and approximately 15 percent were in the high group.
Researchers also found that a decrease in viral loads coincided with a decline in the percent of deaths.
Almost half of patients who were in the high viral group died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Comparatively, 32 percent of patients in the intermediate category and 14 percent in the low category passed away.