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Fever, symptom screening misses a lot of COVID-19 symptoms

A new study from Maine suggests that screening for symptoms might not be doing anything to detect cases.

In this May 27, 2020 file photo, quarantine tents set up for recruits arriving at the Marine Corps’ Parris Island Recruit Depot, S.C. The tents were used until earlier in the week and now recruits go through quarantine at the Citadel, the Marine college in Charleston, S.C.
In this May 27, 2020, file photo, quarantine tents set up for recruits arriving at the Marine Corps’ Parris Island Recruit Depot, S.C.
Lolita Baldor, Associated Press

A new study suggests that temperature and COVID-19 symptom checks might not be doing much to detect cases, raising questions about how to spot and prevent potential outbreaks.

What’s going on?

A new study of Marine recruits found that strict quarantines and symptom checks before trainings didn’t stop the virus from spreading — even though many of the recruits didn’t have any symptoms.

  • The study found that none of the infections were caught during the screening periods.
  • The study — published in the New England Journal of Medicine — has some serious ramifications for how the country scans people for the virus at schools, public events, workplaces and more.

Details:

Researchers came from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and the Naval Medical Research Center, according to Fox News.

The researchers reviewed 1,848 Marines who were asked to isolate for two weeks at home and then at a closed campus for the Marines.

  • The Marines had daily fever and symptom checks.
  • The Marines were tested for COVID-19 when they arrived.
  • Only 1% tested positive when they arrived.
  • Another 2% tested positive during the military quarantine.

The study found there were separate clusters of cases among the recruits that led to the spread, according to Fox News.

Key quote:

  • “We spent a lot of time putting measures like that in place and they’re probably not worth the time as we had hoped,” said Jodie Guest, a public health researcher at Atlanta’s Emory University. Guest had no connection to the study, according to Fox News.