Local doctors warn COVID-19 patients with no symptoms are still contagious, clarify WHO report
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – The World Health Organization is under fire after announcing the spread of the coronavirus by asymptomatic patients is “very rare.”
Now, medical experts around the globe are rushing to clear up confusion on what this means.
“The concern with this statement is that very few patients are actually fully asymptomatic throughout a full COVID-19 infection,” said Dr. Laura Forman, Chief of Emergency Medicine at Kent Hospital in Warwick.
She explained a person with COVID-19 can go two weeks without showing symptoms, but that doesn’t mean they’re asymptomatic.
“If you get the coronavirus today, you might feel absolutely fine and have zero symptoms for up to two weeks, at which point you could start to show symptoms. This doesn’t mean that you’re asymptomatic, it just means your in the pre-symptomatic period. You are highly contagious during that time,” said Dr. Forman.
Coventry resident Jodie Dunn was pre-symptomatic when she tested positive for the virus.
“I had no symptoms,” said Dunn. “There was no cough no fever.”
She didn’t show symptoms for days, but was still highly contagious.
“About 3-5 days in I noticed the loss of taste and smell, the fatigue,” said Dunn.
Dr. Forman wants to remind Rhode Islanders that the coronavirus is still a pandemic and should not be taken lightly.
“A lot of people are thinking if they feel fine it’s OK for them to be out in public and not social distance or wear a mask. You absolutely need to remember to wear a mask and be socially distant,” said Dr. Forman.
She also said even if you are truly asymptomatic, you could still be contagious.
WHO officials now say that while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is not the main way it’s being transmitted.