WHO: Asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 ‘very rare’

Asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus appears to be “very rare,” a World Health Organization (WHO) official said Monday.

“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said at a news briefing. “It’s very rare.”

Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, WHO warned that even individuals who weren’t experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 could still have it and spread it to others. That, in part, led governors to issue stay-at-home orders, shut down entire economies, put record number of people out of work and close down businesses. More than 30 million Americans are out of work, and many states have not fully reopened.

On Tuesday, WHO officials attempted to clarify Monday’s comment.

It was not the “intent of WHO to say there is a new or different policy,” Mike Ryan, head of emergency programs for WHO, said, according to The Washington Post. “There is still too much unknown about this virus and still too much unknown about its transmission dynamics.”

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