On Tuesday Maria Van Kerkhove from The World Health Organization (WHO) is clarifying a statement that asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is “very rare,” saying instead that much is unknown and some models find that it is not actually rare. It’s these types of “misunderstandings” that have made it difficult for people to rely on WHO for getting their information on the virus.
“In that I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that’s misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare,” she said. “What I was referring to is a subset of studies.”
She said that some models show that as much as 40 percent of transmission of the virus could be from asymptomatic people, which would be far from very rare, though those are just estimates from modeling.
“Some estimates of around 40 percent of transmission may be due to asymptomatic, but those are from models, and so I didn’t include that in my answer yesterday but wanted to make sure that I covered that here,” she said.
Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. Tweeted “Keep wearing those masks. Keep distancing.”
“People who are not showing symptoms can still spread the disease; it’s just that they’re likely pre-symptomatic rather than truly asymptomatic.”