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Most pregnant women with COVID-19 show no symptoms ─Study

Medical Doctor Examines a Pregnant Woman

*Researchers say universal screening for COVID-19 is ‘critical’ in vulnerable labour and delivery units of hospitals

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The majority of pregnant women with novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic do not display any symptoms associated with the virus, according to a study carried out by Mount Sinai researchers.

Researchers in the study analysed data from a Coronavirus screening programme in the labor and delivery unit of Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, New York, United States, during March and April 2020.

The team found that more than one-third of almost 130 pregnant women tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.

Nevertheless, most of the pregnant patients with COVID-19 ─ 72 percent ─ were asymptomatic.

Researchers discovered that pregnant patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to identify as Hispanic.

The study authors explained that the proportion of patients who tested positive for the virus was much higher than in other hospitals in New York City.

The study finding was likely tied to the fact that a large percentage of patients served by Elmhurst are victims of social inequities, a group severely affected by the pandemic in the spring.

As regards asymptomatic spread concerns, the findings add to other evidence that the early stages of the pandemic were marked by asymptomatic spread.

During the time window analysed, hospitals were mainly testing symptomatic individuals.

The researchers said the study results could help inform efforts to “refine pandemic preparedness.”

Researcher Dr. Sheela Maru, an Assistant Professor of global health, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City, in a statement said: “This study is instructive for other labour and delivery units and hospitals across the world as we continue to refine pandemic preparedness.”

Maru stated: “In future epidemics, it may be prudent to look at labor and delivery screening numbers much earlier on, as pregnant women continue to seek essential care despite social distancing measures and also represent the generally young and healthy community population.”

The full study has been published in PLOS One, said the report.

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