WHO Official Clarifies Claim That Asymptomatic Coronavirus Spread is ‘Very Rare’


A top World Health Organization official clarified a claim made just Monday that asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus is “very rare.” Instead, they said models predict asymptomatic spread could be responsible for as much as 40 percent of Covid-19 transmission in a press conference Tuesday morning.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on the coronavirus, initially stated Monday, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual. It’s very rare.” She backed that up by saying there’s a number of reports from countries who are doing detail contracted tracing and haven’t found “secondary transmission onward.”

“I was responding to a question at the press conference, I wasn’t stating a policy of WHO or anything like that,” Kerkhove said Tuesday (watch above, at the beginning of the video). “In that, I used the phrase ‘very rare’ and I think that’s misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare.”

“Some estimates of around 40% of transmission may be due to asymptomatic, but those are from models, so I didn’t include that in my answer yesterday, but wanted to make sure that I covered that here,” Kerkhove added.

Another doctor at the press conference, Dr. Mike Ryan, went on to reiterate that WHO will not change it’s policies related to coronavirus, but research has shown that large-scale lockdowns are not needed anymore.

At least 35 percent of people who test positive for Covid-19 are asymptomatic and experts have pointed toward these cases as the most dangerous in creating the spread Covid-19. While Kerkhove cautioned that there isn’t enough research to prove the levels of asymptomatic spread on Monday, her comments still gained traction.

Even Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who was criticized for continuing his daily life after testing positive for Covid-19 without symptoms, reveled in the initial comments.

Andy Slavitt, the former administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid under Barack Obama, criticized WHO’s decision to wait for a correction, saying, “WHO hasn’t shown as much regret as they have explained to us.”

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