Maria Van Kerhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for COVID-19 response and head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, stated that the spread of the novel coronavirus by people who aren’t showing symptoms is a rare occurrence.
She said that the conclusion is based on data gathered by the organization.
Van Kerkhove stated:
“We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases, they’re following contacts, and they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It is very rare — and much of that is not published in the literature.”
She added that the organization is continuously analyzing the data and trying to get more information from countries to form a definitive conclusion.
Van Kerkhove also spoke about how COVID-19, a respiratory pathogen, spreads – It is extremely dangerous because it can spread through droplets, which are released when someone coughs or sneezes.
She said that often cases of asymptomatic patients turn out to be cases of the mild disease:
“When we actually go back, and we say how many of them were truly asymptomatic, we find out that many have really mild disease.”
However, many patients don’t present typical COVID symptoms like fever, severe coughs, shortness of breath, though some have mild disease.
“Having said that, we do know that there can be people who are truly asymptomatic,” she added.
It is far more dangerous when a patient is pre-symptomatic, meaning that it is experiencing an early stage of an illness before the regular symptoms have kicked in.
Asymptomatic patients, on the other hand, are experiencing a full-phased infection, presenting no symptoms.
Van Kerkhove accentuated the difference between the two groups of individuals during Monday’s media briefing.