Fears about silent spreaders of Covid — who suffer no symptoms but can pass the virus to others — may have been overblown.
A study of nearly 30,000 people has found asymptomatic carriers are about 68 per cent less likely to pass the virus on than those who get sick.
No10 used concerns about asymptomatic spread to justify forcing Britons to obey lockdowns and wear masks.
They were thought to account for up to a third of all infections and many scientists claimed asymptomatic patients were just as infectious as the sick.
But a new global study spanning 42 countries, including the UK and US, found they were only responsible for as little as 14 per cent of cases.
They also estimate that their overall risk of passing the virus to someone else ‘about two-thirds lower’.