WHO expert clarifies remarks on virus spread

A top World Health Organization expert has tried to clear up “misunderstandings” about comments she made that were widely understood to suggest that people without COVID-19 symptoms rarely transmit the coronavirus.

Posted: Jun 9, 2020 9:25 AM
Updated: Jun 9, 2020 12:05 PM

GENEVA - A top World Health Organization expert has tried to clear up “misunderstandings” about comments she made that were widely understood to suggest that people without COVID-19 symptoms rarely transmit the coronavirus.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the U.N. health agency's technical lead on the virus pandemic, insisted Tuesday that she was referring only to a few studies, not a complete picture, in the comments she made Monday.

Van Kerkhove's remarks on Monday raised confusion and questions among outside experts and health officials who have recommended and in some places required that people wear masks to try to prevent the virus from spreading.

The “clarification” she provided during a WHO social-media chat showed many questions remain about whether infected people who don’t show symptoms of illness such as fever, dry cough or difficulty breathing can transmit the virus to others.

Van Kerkhove said: “What I was referring to yesterday were very few studies, some two or three studies that have been published, that actually try to follow asymptomatic cases.”

“That’s a very small subset of studies,” she continued. “I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that that’s (a) misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare. What I was referring to was a subset of studies.”

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 512175

Reported Deaths: 9396
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1921774693
Orange37391651
Riverside37011695
San Bernardino32980417
San Diego29883565
Kern20545144
Fresno15083138
Alameda11524189
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Contra Costa7966125
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Marin499470
Monterey482230
Kings438056
Merced428550
Solano361137
Sonoma305537
Madera194330
Placer192516
San Luis Obispo178315
Yolo154442
Santa Cruz11524
Butte9417
Napa8888
Sutter7866
San Benito6434
El Dorado6371
Lassen6310
Yuba4854
Shasta3699
Glenn3251
Colusa3234
Mendocino3179
Nevada2991
Tehama2341
Humboldt2334
Lake1951
Mono1451
Tuolumne1412
Amador1260
Calaveras1251
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Inyo511
Plumas330
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Sierra20
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Seasonably hot weather continued on Monday for northern California with a mix of sunshine and smoke from our area wildfires. A cooling trend is ahead, but it will be brief.
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