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Pa. Doctor: Greater Risk of a Car Accident Than Catching COVID-19 from Asymptomatic Transmission

By Melanie Arter | June 5, 2020 | 12:33pm EDT

A Pennsylvania doctor said on Thursday that he’s seeing signs that COVID-19 is less prevalent and potent than it was weeks ago.

Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at UPMC, said fewer people are testing positive and those who do don’t seem to be getting as sick, Penn Live reports.

“All signs that we have available right now show that this virus is less prevalent than it was weeks ago,” Yealy said.

“We see all of this as evidence that COVID-19 cases are less severe than when this first started,” he said.

The doctor suggested that the risk of getting COVID-19 through asymptomatic infections is lower than health officials thought. He said it’s more likely that people were infected by someone with COVID-19 but doesn’t know they have it yet than someone who has it but has no symptoms.

Yealy said the risk of getting into a car accident on the highway in Pennsylvania is greater than being positive for the coronavirus by asymptomatic.

“Your risk of getting into a car accident if you go back and forth across the turnpike in Pennsylvania is greater than your risk of being positive for asymptomatic COVID-19 infection,” he said. “This should give you some reassurance that the risk of catching COVID-19 … from someone who doesn’t even know they have the infection, in our communities, is very small.”

Yealy’s observations apply to western and central Pennsylvania as well as New York and Maryland communities served by UPMC.

Out of 8,000 patients with no symptoms tested at UPMC, 1 in 400 had COVID, Yealy said. Less than 4 percent of the 30,000 COVID-19 tests conducted at UPMC were positive for the coronavirus.

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