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We report temporal patterns of viral shedding in 94 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients and modelled COVID-19 infectiousness profile from a separate sample of 77 infector-infectee transmission pairs. We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom onset. We estimated that 44% of transmission could occur before first symptoms of the index. Disease control measures should be adjusted to account for probable substantial pre-symptomatic transmission.

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