Previously the World Health Organization (WHO) official commented on the transmission of coronavirus by asymptomatic patients. The international health experts and physicians were left skeptical when the comment came from the WHO platform that the asymptomatic coronavirus patients rarely transmit the virus.
The statement shocked millions of people all over the world and specifically those who isolated themselves in fear of contracting the infection from an asymptomatic individual. People on social media also showed their confusion on the statement by the WHO.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove is the head of the emerging diseases and zoonosis unit at the WHO. She said that the asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is a complicated phenomenon and it is not much clear yet.
She addressed her comment on a live session on social media. Dr. Van Kerkhove said that she was not in any way stating a WHO policy but answered a mere question asked during the press conference. She said that she previously called the asymptomatic spread of coronavirus infection very rare. By very rare, she referred to the rare number of studies and not the rate of the infection itself.
She also said that 16 percent of the infected individuals are asymptomatic coronavirus patients, according to the studies. She further clarified her statement saying that some health experts suggest that nearly 40 percent of the transmission of the virus might be through asymptomatic coronavirus infections.
The estimate of the scientists is, however, through models so she did not mention it in the press conference.
Dr. Van Kerkhove further said that most of the cases contract coronavirus from symptomatic individuals. These patients have coronavirus symptoms such as coughing and sneezing by which they transmit the virus through tiny droplets.
Dr. Mike Ryan is the executive director of the WHO’s emergency program. He said during the live session that the WHO does not have the complete information on how much the asymptomatic coronavirus patient can transmit the infection yet. Asymptomatic individuals are likely to spread the coronavirus infection. But the percentage of asymptomatic individuals who transmit the individuals can not be answered.
He said that they need to have more information about it to give a statement. He added that both symptomatic and asymptomatic are responsible for the transmission of coronavirus. The experts do not know how much each category of infected individuals is contributing to the transmission cycle.
The scientists further clarified that an asymptomatic coronavirus patient is a person who does not develop symptoms at any stage of the infection. It should not be confused with a pre-symptomatic individual who usually develops symptoms in the later stage of infection.
The WHO official previously said that the asymptomatic rarely spread the coronavirus. But the scientists cleared the statement recently in a live Q&A session which was live-streamed on various platforms.
According to the experts, they do not have adequate information to tell the rate of spread of infection through asymptomatic coronavirus patients in contrast to what the WHO official said during a press conference on Monday.