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Are Fever Checks a Good Gatekeeper for Covid?

“We now have a greater understanding of Covid-19 transmission that signifies symptom-based screening has restricted effectiveness as a result of folks with Covid-19 could haven’t any signs or fever on the time of screening, or solely gentle signs,” the C.D.C. stated in an announcement.

Temperature checks are akin to “getting the oil checked earlier than you go on a protracted automobile journey,” stated Dr. David Thomas, an infectious illness specialist at Johns Hopkins College Faculty of Medication. “It makes you’re feeling higher, however it’s not going to maintain you from wrecking the automobile or forestall the tires from falling off. It’s not going to make your journey any safer.”

“It’s one thing you are able to do, and it makes you’re feeling such as you’re doing one thing,” he stated. “Nevertheless it received’t catch most people who find themselves spreading Covid.”

Most individuals who spike a fever really feel awful, and presumably would cancel their dinner plans, stated Dr. Thomas McGinn, Northwell Well being’s senior vice chairman and deputy doctor in chief. Temperature checks may choose up a number of people who’re unaware of their fever, he stated.

However the absence of fever “means nothing,” he stated. “It’s not a really delicate take a look at.”

It does, nevertheless, convey a robust public well being message, serving as a reminder that individuals should take precautions, and that itself could also be of profit, Dr. McGinn stated. “It makes folks assume twice, and reminds them that this can be a massive deal, we nonetheless must be cautious, you want somebody to face by the door to do this,” he stated.

However right here’s the rub: Whereas fever is usually a symptom of Covid-19, the illness brought on by the coronavirus, not everybody contaminated with the virus develops a fever, or many different signs, for that matter. Physicians writing within the New England Journal of Medication have referred to as the phenomenon of symptomless unfold the “Achilles’ heel of Covid-19 pandemic management.”

Proof of asymptomatic unfold dates again to early within the pandemic, however has been mounting ever since. A current research from South Korea revealed in JAMA Inside Medication in August provided much more proof, discovering that contaminated people who don’t really feel in poor health could carry simply as a lot virus of their nostril, throat and lungs as these with signs — and for nearly as lengthy.

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