Gov. Roy Cooper’s mantra during the coronavirus has been that his decisions are being made based on “the science, the data and the facts.”

However, this is a new disease that scientists are learning more about it every day, so the science, the data and the facts are not set in stone, but are changing as more data leads to new facts.

The World Health Organization (WHO) released some data that, if accepted, would radically change the way the state is attempting to stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to WHO, the science, data and facts indicate that asymptomatic people are highly unlikely to be contagious. Which means if a person doesn’t have symptoms of COVID-19, even if they have COVID-19 they are unlikely to transmit it to anyone else.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who is head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.” 

At a news briefing at the Geneva headquarters of WHO, she said that WHO had data from countries that had done very detailed studies of asymptomatic persons and persons with very mild symptoms who had tested positive for COVID-19 and found that the transmission to another person was “very rare.”

Do to an outcry from public health and elected officials over this fact – based on science and data – WHO walked that fact back, noting that there were other studies with different results. But what they can’t walk back is that the head of their emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, in answering a specific question about transmission from asymptomatic people, said it was “very rare.” Dr. Kerkhove is a scientist, but when the data of scientific studies don’t match the advice given by public health officials and actions taken by elected officials, then those “facts” are walked back.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the reason for wearing masks is to prevent the mask wearer from transmitting the disease to someone else. The CDC website states, “Wear a face covering to help protect others in case you’re infected but don’t have symptoms.”

But according to Dr. Kerkhove, if you are infected and don’t have symptoms it is “very rare” for you to transmit the disease to someone else.

So if you put that data from the CDC and WHO together, if you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19, wearing a mask isn’t going to do much to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. Kerkhove said that isolating those with COVID-19 symptoms would go a long way to “drastically reduce” the spread of the disease.