June 9, 2020 at 8:04 AM EDT
WHO says asymptomatic people usually don’t spread coronavirus. Experts doubt that.
It would be great news for the prospect of containing the coronavirus pandemic if only people with symptoms typically spread the virus, as the World Health Organization said Monday.
But the WHO’s announcement was immediately met with skepticism and pushback from prominent health and medical experts — underscoring how the scientific community is still far from consensus over how the novel coronavirus operates.
The question of whether asymptomatic people were helping drive the virus’s spread is critical — and a central argument for social distancing and lockdowns. Because most researchers believed this is a common way the virus circulates, even people at low risk for the disease or who were not showing symptoms were nonetheless warned to behave as though they were already infected.
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By Paige Winfield Cunningham