We all know by now that not everyone responds the same to the new coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. Some people get the virus and have no symptoms at all, others only have minor symptoms similar to a cold, others have severe breathing problems while others end up dying. It’s the same when it comes to the transmission of the disease, and it seems that some people spread the virus way more than others.
Scientists have discovered that the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) applies to the transmission of coronavirus as well: 20% of people are responsible for 80% of infections. That means that from a small group of 5 people, one of them is a super-spreader.
How Does Someone Become a Super-spreader?
There is no definitive answer here, just some speculations. Some of the super-spreaders have very weak immune systems, while others have very strong immune systems. In the latter case, the person does not feel any symptoms and ends up transmitting the virus to others. This happened a lot in the days before the mandatory quarantine imposed by governments, and people who were feeling well did not take any precaution measures and ended up transmitting the disease to tens of others.
It is also believed that super-spreaders get a higher dose of the virus in the first place or they are infected with more than one pathogen. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict which person becomes a super-spreader, and that’s why it is important for absolutely everyone to respect the precaution measures (social distancing, hand washing and wearing an N95 respirator mask).
Super-spreaders of Coronavirus
These are just some examples, but there are thousands of similar cases all over the world. The third infected British patient was a man who got the virus from a conference in Singapore. From there he traveled to France and stayed at a ski chalet in the Alps. There he infected five other people, including a 9 years old boy. One of the infected persons from the chalet then travelled to Mallorca (Spain) and infected other people there.
So the British man became a super-spreader and infected multiple persons from different countries. At the conference in Singapore there was a man who came from Wuhan, China, and it is believed that he was also a super-spreader. Many of those who attended the conference have fallen ill afterwards.
Super-spreaders of Oher Diseases
These types of people have been documented since the early 1900s. For example, during that period a woman infected 51 others with typhoid, even though she didn’t have any symptoms. In Finland in 1998, a single student infected 22 others with measles, while in 1995 two people in Congo infected 50 others with Ebola. Also, in the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic there were a few super-spreaders in Singapore that transmitted the virus to about 10 people each. That disease was also caused by a coronavirus, but that one was not as contagious as the new virus that causes Covid-19.
So make sure to avoid human contact as much as possible during this time of quarantine, wash your hands and always wear a mask when going outside. Get your NIOSH certified N95 respirator mask at this link.