Article by Natalie Müller
Breaking: The WHO now says asymptomatic coronavirus carriers spreading the virus is “very rare.”
A high-level official at the WHO has said that asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus are not the primary spreaders of it, according to their research.
“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 at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.
“What we really want to be focused on is following the symptomatic cases,” Van Kerkhove said. “If we actually followed all of the symptomatic cases, isolated those cases, followed the contacts and quarantined those contacts, we would drastically reduce [the outbreak]”.
Van Kerkhove called for more research and data to “truly” confirm the rarity of asymptomatic spread.
If the World Health Organisation is right about this and it bears mentioning that the organization was initially incorrect in believing the data from China about cases and deaths were accurate — it would be a game changer in terms of how we are able to go about our lives until there’s a vaccine.
Van Kerkhove went on to describe how the novel coronavirus, a respiratory pathogen, spreads through droplets, which can be released when someone coughs or sneezes.
“It passes from an individual through infectious droplets. If we actually followed all of the symptomatic cases, isolated those cases, followed the contacts and quarantined those cases, we would drastically reduce — I would love to be able to give a proportion of how much transmission we would actually stop — but it would be a drastic reduction in transmission,” she said.
Van Kerkhove also said that what appear to be asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 often turn out to be cases of mild disease.
“Other data available, from studies in several continents confirming that presymptomatic transmission does occur, would suggest that being well does not necessarily mean one cannot transmit SARS-CoV-2,” Javid said in part. “This has important implications for the track/trace/isolate measures being instituted in many countries.”
This is a developing story…
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