A recent analysis from Dr. Jon Thogmartin suggested that COVID-19 patients who appear to be asymptomatic may still be developing "silent" lung damage which does not result in breathing difficulties or cough.

According to a report, Thogmartin, a board-certified forensic pathologist and chief medical examiner for Florida's District Six, urged those who may not be taking the pandemic seriously to go over his new findings of the virus and reconsider their views of the deadly contagion.

He reminded Pinellas commissioners that although there remains a lot of mystery about the virus, one thing is certain: it destroys the lungs.

Thogmartin supported his insights by citing his own experience in conducting post-mortem examinations of people who have been severely infected with COVID-19. He also cited a recent study published by Scripps Research which is a California-based nonprofit medical research facility that focuses on research and education in biomedical sciences.

His autopsies saw that these intensely-infected patients had lungs that do not look and feel like lungs anymore, and that patients who were asymptomatic or had the mildest symptoms also presented varying levels of lung damage. In relation to this, an analysis from Scripps Research roughly estimates that asymptomatic patients may account for 40-45 percent of COVID-19 cases.

Due to this significant probability, both Thogmartin and the scientists from Scripps Research are calling for more testing in people who do not display any of the conventional COVID-19 symptoms. Thogmartin added that "the absence of symptoms does not imply the absence of harm."

In the interview, Thogmartin described COVID-19 patients who contracted the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. These passengers did not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms, but their CT scans showed "significant lung abnormalities" and consequential lung damage.

The scans would appear to be hazy or comparable to a dirty piece of glass to those who may be looking at the images. Daniel Oran, a scientist involved with the Scripps Research analysis, said that this lack of clarity apparently means that there is something abnormal about the lungs.

Analysis done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year has not yet explained how fast asymptomatic patients are spreading the virus but researchers believe that this calls for expanded testing to prevent new and unprecedented infections.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Doctors New York, USA
Representational image. Misha Friedman/Getty Images

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