WHO says “much is unknown” about symptoms after an official suggested they were “rare”

A screenshot taken from a video released by the World Health Organization shows WHO technical leader Maria Van Kerkhove speaking on Monday, April 6, at a virtual news briefing on COVID-19 from WHO headquarters in Geneva. AFP / Getty Images

The World Health Organization today addressed the confusion over officials’ comments Monday, suggesting the spread of Covid-19 by asymptomatic people “It seems to be rare.”

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical leader for responding to coronavirus and head of its disease and zoonosis unit, said yesterday that “it still seems rare for an asymptomatic person to actually switch to a secondary person”.

But today, during questions and live questions, she clarified that “this is a major unknown.”

“We know that some people who are asymptomatic or some people who have no symptoms can pass the virus on. So what we need to understand better is how many people in the population have no symptoms,” Van Kerkhove said.

She further explained:

“What I was thinking at the press conference yesterday was very few studies that tried to look at asymptomatic cases over time. … And it’s a very small series of studies, so I answered a question at a press conference. I wasn’t.” politics, “Van Kerkhove said.” Since this is a major unknown, because there are so many unknowns around it, some modeling groups have tried to estimate what proportion of asymptomatic individuals they can transmit. “

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergency Program, also said during a live Q&A that much remains to be learned about the possible asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus.

“Whatever proportion of the disease is transmitted from asymptomatic individuals, as Mary said, is unknown,” Ryan said. “There are many answers to this, many are unknown.”

Ryan added that the virus, a pathogen present in the upper respiratory tract, is transmitted by droplets – such as when someone coughs or sneezes, but some research also shows that it can be spread through speech.

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Earlier, on Monday, Van Kerkhove said that symptoms of Covid-19 symptoms appear to be asymptomatic often cases of mild illness.

“When we actually go back and say how many of them were truly asymptomatic, we discover that many have a really mild illness,” Van Kerkhove said Monday.

Remember: A truly asymptomatic person has no symptoms and does not continue to develop Covid-19 symptoms. While the term paucisymptomatic refers to atypical or very mild symptoms, and pre-symptomatic refers to the early stages of the disease, before the symptoms have developed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates in planning scenarios that 40% of coronavirus transmission occurs before people get sick.

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