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The role of “silent spreaders” in transmitting the coronavirus is becoming an even greater issue for health officials as they ease stay-at-home rules and slowly reopen the economy.

Health officials have stressed the importance of creating an army of disease detectives — investigators who can interview newly infected people and find their close contacts, telling them to quarantine themselves for 14 days in hopes of keeping other people from getting infected.

But if many people who get the virus don’t show symptoms and yet are infectious, the disease could spread invisibly, beyond the reach of county health officials.

Health experts say it can take a few days from the time a person becomes infected, and could infect others, and the point at which they begin to show signs of illness. It’s called “presymptomatic transmission.” There’s also “asymptomatic transmission,” in which infected people show no serious signs of illness but still can spread the disease.

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