The question about being an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier is one intriguing that must be treated with much care as it is a big news in opposition to what was a new world order few months ago all over the world.
In early April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new face-mask guidance, encouraging everyone to wear cloth face coverings when in public. The reasoning: “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms” and that those individuals can transmit the virus to others.
But in a statement in June, the World Health Organization said that it believes asymptomatic transmission to be “very rare,” particularly among young, otherwise healthy people — a seemingly dramatic reversal from a few months ago, when social distancing was enacted largely as a precaution against asymptomatic transmission.
The WHO’s comments led to a flurry of news items — and some pushback from concerned health experts. In an attempt to clear up confusion, the WHO held another press conference the next day, at which Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, clarified that her statement was based on a small number of contact-tracing studies done in China.
While experts still believe that most transmission occurs through people with coronavirus symptoms, she said, the WHO estimates that 16 percent of asymptomatic infected people can transmit COVID-19, and unpublished disease models suggest that number could be as high as 40 percent.
While we don’t know exactly how many people infected with the coronavirus are truly asymptomatic, the CDC has estimated that it’s around 35 percent, and in June, the journal Nature Medicine published a report saying those who are asymptomatic might still sustain lung damage.
The availability of testing continues to improve, though we still don’t have a clear picture as to exactly how many American cases are asymptomatic, or what an asymptomatic case could mean for one’s future health. But here’s what we know about asymptomatic carriers so far
Just to be clear: What exactly does it mean to be asymptomatic?
If you are truly asymptomatic, that means you are infected with a virus but you never exhibit symptoms of disease. In the case of the coronavirus, those common symptoms would be dry cough, fever, and fatigue but might also include aches, gastrointestinal distress, and congestion.
However, as health officials have repeatedly stressed in an attempt to convince people to adhere to strict social-distancing measures, people with the coronavirus who are asymptomatic can be contagious. And that was to experiment on the disease and forced people to get tested, which helped in tracing traits of the virus.