WHO says asymptomatic spread of coronavirus rare, then clarifies

WHO’s flip-flop statement on Coronavirus transmission from asymptomatic individuals! After making a rather shocking statement on how COVID-19 transmission is rare in asymptomatic cases, the World Health Organization (WHO) arranged a session where it clarified its earlier statement and said that some modelling studies show that asymptomatic transmission has chances of around 40 per cent. The statement had come after the organisation received a backlash on social media from many. According to Maria Van Kerkhove, Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and COVID-19 Technical Lead at WHO, in her latest address said that around 6-41 per cent of people are asymptomatic and many have the ability to transmit it to others.

It is to note that not two days ago Maria Van Kerkhove in a press conference highlighted that some countries are doing a detailed contact tracing process and upon studying asymptomatic cases, secondary transmission could not be found. “It is very rare,” said Kerkhove. Giving a clarification to this statement, she said that her statement may have been misunderstood as she did not mention modelling studies which states the Coronavirus transmission from asymptomatic patients can estimated to be around 40 per cent and other two-three studies on asymptomatic cases cases that there was no spread, which indeed was a small subset of the studies.

Supporting her stance, Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director at WHO ensured people that the organisation welcomes all discussions regarding this. He said the organisation has been misinterpreted mainly because they failed to use “the most elegant words.” To be sure, COVID-19 is still at an evolving stage and the organisation provides guidance according to the recent studies available at the time.

Kerkhove explained that it is still a big question as to what is the exact percentage of Coronavirus transmission from people who do not have symptoms. “Therefore, WHO recommends fabric masks for all those living in areas of active transmission” and are not able to practice physical distancing, she added.

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