New WHO data reveals startling correlation of asymptomatic people
[A]s researchers have been analyzing contact tracing data, they found that the virus is unlikely to be spread by asymptomatic individuals.
"From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said at a news briefing. "It’s very rare."
"I did not say that asymptomatic cases cannot transmit; they can," Van Kerkhove told TIME. "The question is, do they? And if they do, how often is that happening?"
She explained that one concern is that some people may have mild symptoms, or ones not commonly associated with COVID-19, such as muscle aches and fatigue, and may not realize they have contracted the coronavirus. That makes it difficult for contact traces to know if a person was truly asymptomatic while they were spreading the virus.
"We’re not ruling anything out," Van Kerkhove said. "We're not saying that [asymptomatic spread is] not happening. But we're saying more transmission is happening among symptomatic individuals. People are looking for a binary, and it’s not that."