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WHO says ‘we can always do higher’ following confusing comments on asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus


Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a information convention on the state of affairs of the coronavirus (COVID-2019), in Geneva, Switzerland, February 28, 2020.

Denis Balibouse | Reuters

The World Health Organization’s high official mentioned Wednesday that the company “could always do better” following confusing comments made Monday about asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus.

Covid-19 is a brand new virus and the group is studying all the time, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus mentioned throughout a information convention at the company’s Geneva headquarters.

“Communicating complex science in real time about a new virus is not always easy, but we believe it’s part of our duty to the world and we can always do better,” he mentioned. “We welcome constructive debate and that’s how science advances. WHO advice will continue to evolve as new information becomes available.”

The WHO drew criticism from the scientific group and others throughout social media Monday after one of its high scientists mentioned asymptomatic unfold of the coronavirus was “very rare.”

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s rising illnesses and zoonosis unit, walked again these comments Tuesday, saying, it was a “misunderstanding” and “we don’t actually have that answer yet.”

“I was responding to a question at the press conference. I wasn’t stating a policy of WHO or anything like that. I was just trying to articulate what we know,” she mentioned on a dwell Q&A streamed throughout a number of social media platforms. “And in that, I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that that’s a misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare. I was referring to a small subset of studies.”

An asymptomatic particular person is somebody contaminated with Covid-19 who by no means develops signs. It’s not the identical as a pre-symptomatic affected person, who later goes on to develop signs. Studies have proven that individuals can unfold the virus in the pre-symptomatic stage as effectively, usually one to some days earlier than signs begin.

Earlier Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the main U.S. infectious illness knowledgeable, mentioned the WHO’s remark “was not correct.”  

The WHO “walked that back because there’s no evidence to indicate that’s the case,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, mentioned throughout an interview that aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“In fact, the evidence we have given the percentage of people, which is about 25% [to] 45%, of the totality of infected people likely are without symptoms,” he mentioned. “And we know from epidemiological studies that they can transmit to someone who is uninfected even when they are without symptoms.”

Tedros mentioned Wednesday that analysis on asymptomatic unfold is “ongoing and we’re seeing more and more research being done.”

“But here is what we do know: That finding, isolating and testing people with symptoms, and tracing and quarantining their contacts is the most critical way to stop transmission,” he mentioned.



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