“These people could have infected people before they felt bad, but we didn’t know until the last 24 hours,” he said. He said the state’s best doctor told him it’s game-changing.
It may have been a game-changer, but it was a game-changer weeks or even months ago. It was then that health officials began to point out that asymptomatic people are transmitting the coronavirus. The idea that Kemp didn’t know is striking. But he is only the last high-level politician to indicate that he is not familiar with science even though he is making life and death decisions for his constituents.
Anthony S. Fauci, a senior member of the White House coronavirus task force, spoke about asymptomatic transmission more than two months ago.
“You know that at first we didn’t know if there was an asymptomatic infection, which would make it a much larger epidemic than what we are saying here; now we know for sure that there are, “said Fauci at a task force briefing on January 31. “It was not clear if an asymptomatic person could pass it on to someone when they were asymptomatic. Now we know from a recent report from Germany that this is absolutely the case. “
Fauci added on February 4: “We were receiving reports from very reliable people in China – scientists, investigators and public health professionals whom we have known over the years – and they told us,” There are asymptomatic disease, for sure, and we are seeing asymptomatic transmission. “”
The CDC has issued guidelines stating as of March 1, stating that asymptomatic people can indeed spread the coronavirus, while stressing that people with symptoms are more likely to be contagious.
“Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms,” said the CDC, adding “that there have been reports of this phenomenon with this new coronavirus, but it is not believed to be the main one way the virus spreads. “
Deborah Birx, a member of the White House task force, said on March 14 that asymptomatic transmission is a growing concern.
“Until you really understand how many people are asymptomatic and transmit the virus asymptomatically, we think it’s best for the general public to know that the risk of serious illness may be low, but they could potentially spread the virus to others, “Birx said, adding,” This is why we are asking every American to take personal responsibility for preventing this spread. “
Studies of the spread to other countries since the start of the epidemic have indicated that about half of the transmissions in Singapore came from asymptomatic people, and up to 62% in a study from the Chinese province of Tianjin.
On March 22, Fauci warned young people more directly that they could transmit the virus asymptomatically.
“You will make the people you care for sick if you are asymptomatic,” Fauci told young people who were still going out. “So you may not think you have it and you could very well do it.” And you could especially do it if you continue to go out and live your life as usual. “
Ten days after that and more than two months after Fauci first said there was solid evidence of asymptomatic transmission, Kemp says he only learned about it in the last 24 hours.
Kemp seems to have cited a new issue that the CDC has placed on asymptomatic cases. CDC director Robert Redfield said on NPR on Monday that the number of people with coronavirus but asymptomatic could reach 25%. But the idea that these people transmitted the virus is not at all current.
And to be clear: this is not trivial. The fact that it is transmitted asymptomatically is an extremely important fact, as it testifies to the difficulty of fighting against the virus and the need to keep even people who do not seem sick inside. Didn’t Kemp really deal with this before the middle of this week?
Kemp is not the first senior official to comment suggesting that they were not exactly aware of the details here. President Trump said Sunday he had learned of a projection that 2.2 million people could have died in the United States if nothing had been done to limit its spread. Trump said that when he was given the number that day, it was “the first time I heard this number.” In fact, that number was part of a projection released almost two weeks earlier by a model from Imperial College London, which formed the basis for more aggressive responses in the United States and Britain.
Kemp’s neighbor governor Kay Ivey of Alabama also said strange things about the data in his state. She said Tuesday about infections in her state, “Well, we are not Louisiana, we are not New York State, we are not California. As Philip Bump of the Washington Post noted, however, the spread rate in Alabama was actually similar to the early days of New York and worse than in California.
Ivey, like Kemp, resisted pressure for a statewide home stay order. And in both cases, it seems fair to wonder to what extent their resistance was prompted by the data and what health officials said.