* Olivia Messer at the Daily Beast…
The night before a funeral in February, a Chicago man shared a three-hour takeout meal with two family members of the deceased. The next day, at the service, he took part in a potluck dinner, hugging those in mourning. In the following days, he swung by a birthday party.
Throughout these simple, seemingly innocuous encounters, the man had mild symptoms of what authorities now know to be the novel coronavirus, and health officials believe he may have been a so-called super-spreader who unwittingly transmitted the infection to as many as 16 people, resulting in three deaths.
The account of community spread in an Illinois cluster is the product of an investigation conducted in February and March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health. It shows how easily the virus can be transmitted, even with limited contact—and provides a cautionary tale for Americans thinking of breaking social-distancing guidelines. […]
Super-spreaders—or patients who are extra contagious—have become a notable feature of the virus. Experts have pointed to cases like that of a lawyer in New Rochelle, New York who may have helped trigger an outbreak there, and a man in the United Kingdom who may have transmitted the virus to nearly a dozen people before realizing he was sick earlier this year.
The CDC featured this case in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality report…
This cluster comprised 16 cases of COVID-19 (seven confirmed and nine probable), with transmission mostly occurring between nonhousehold contacts at family gatherings. The median interval from last contact with a patient with confirmed or probable COVID-19 to first symptom onset was 4 days. Within 3 weeks after mild respiratory symptoms were noted in the index patient, 15 other persons were likely infected with SARS-CoV-2, including three who died. Patient A1.1, the index patient, was apparently able to transmit infection to 10 other persons, despite having no household contacts and experiencing only mild symptoms for which medical care was not sought.