I was waiting for this.

Courtesy of Axios

The World Health Organization clarified comments an official made on Monday that called asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus “very rare,” saying in a press conference that these carriers do take part in spreading the virus but that more information is needed to know by how much.

WHO official Maria Van Kerkhove clarified Tuesday that patients sometimes confuse not having any symptoms with only exhibiting mild symptoms. In addition, some patients transmit the virus before developing symptoms. Contact tracers classify this group as “presymptomatic,” rather than asymptomatic.

Van Kerkhov said the WHO estimates 16% of people are asymptomatic and can transmit the virus. Some models suggest up to 40% of coronavirus transmission might be due to asymptomatic spread, she added, but much more information is needed.

Van Kerkhove stressed that her comments on Monday were specific to particular studies and did not represent a new policy or direction. The WHO said it regrets saying that asymptomatic spread is “very rare.”

The WHO’s comments about asymptomatic transmission caused mass public confusion, as experts online pointed to several studies and modeling that have shown asymptomatic spread occurs.

I know that a lot of you read those first comments because you mentioned them here in the comments. 

I almost wrote about it several times yesterday but I was worried about inadvertently publicizing something that I knew was wrong but did not have the scientific background to effectively argue why it was wrong. 

So now with this statement, I think it is important to let people know that yes you can still get this virus from people who show no signs of illness and that we still need to conduct ourselves as if we, or other people, are most likely infected. 

That is really the only way to stay relatively safe. 

I really worried that people were going to read those initial statements and throw their masks away believing that all they had to do was avoid sick people, and that could have proved devastating. 

Wear those masks folks!