The World Health Organization is scrambling to clarify its claim that transmissions of the coronavirus by people who never developed symptoms is “very rare.”
WHO’s statement on Monday sent shock waves throughout the world, much of which has been locked down for months in fear of the virus being spread by people who showed no signs of illness.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, has now said that there had been “misunderstandings” about her recent comments.
Fox News reports: In a Facebook Live video, Van Kerkhove said asymptomatic people can in fact spread the virus, though the degree to which they can is unknown.
“We do know that some people who are asymptomatic or some people who don’t have symptoms can transmit the virus on,” she said. “What we need to better understand is how many people in the population don’t have symptoms and, separately, how many of those individuals go on to transmit to others.”
She said she was referring to two or three studies when she made her statement on Monday.
“In that I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that’s a misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare,” she said. “What I was referring to is a subset of studies.”
Some modeling groups estimate about 40 percent of virus transmission may be due to asymptomatic people, she said. Van Kerkhove did not include that figure on Monday but wanted to make sure she included it in her clarification.