Dr Maria Van Kerkhove
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are not spreading new infections.
According to officials of the organization, patients without symptoms aren’t driving the spread of the virus.
Preliminary evidence from the earliest outbreaks indicated that the virus could spread from person-to-person contact, even if the carrier didn’t have symptoms.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said that while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is not the main way it’s being transmitted.
“From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual, it’s very rare.”
According to Van Kerkhove, government responses should focus on detecting and isolating infected people with symptoms, and tracking anyone who might have come into contact with them.
She acknowledged that some studies have indicated asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread in nursing homes and in household settings.
To be sure, asymptomatic and presymptomatic spread of the virus appears to still be happening, Van Kerkhove said but remains rare. Van Kerkhove said;
“What we really want to be focused on is following the symptomatic cases, 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.”