Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday announced a stay-at home order across Georgia to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. During the announcement, Kemp also stated he just learned asymptomatic people could transmit the virus.
An incredulous Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “This is inexcusable. My kids, who go to school in Georgia, knew that a month ago.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta discuss remarks by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in which he claims he recently learned that the coronavirus can be spread by asymptomatic people.
Gov. Admits He Didn’t Know Asymptomatic People Could Pass Virus | Morning Joe | MSNBC
Fact check: Georgia governor says we only just learned people without symptoms could spread coronavirus. Experts have been saying that for months
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By Tara Subramaniam and Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Updated 3:18 PM ET, Thu April 2, 2020
Atlanta (CNN) Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said on Wednesday that new information on the spread of coronavirus influenced his decision to issue a stay-at-home order. In particular, Kemp pointed to what he said was the recent discovery that the virus can be spread by people who are not exhibiting symptoms.
“What we’ve been telling people from directives from the CDC for weeks now that if you start feeling bad stay home, those individuals could have been infecting people before they ever felt bad. But we didn’t know that until the last 24 hours,” said Kemp, a Republican.
Facts First: It’s not true that people didn’t know “until the last 24 hours” that individuals without symptoms could be infecting people with coronavirus. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in mid-February that asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus was possible. Furthermore, studies from as early as January showed cases of coronavirus spreading amongst people with no symptoms.
Kemp’s press secretary said the governor was referring to an update that the CDC made to its guidance on March 30 that indicated there’s a higher risk of people without symptoms passing on the virus. The updated guidance changed the period of exposure risk for individuals from “onset of symptoms” to “48 hours before symptom onset.”
As more has been learned about the virus, several experts told CNN last month that it’s become clear that transmission by people who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic is responsible for more transmission than previously thought.
Though it wasn’t the first time he acknowledged it, Redfield confirmed that suspicion in a March 30 interview with NPR affiliate WABE, in which he said “as many as 25%” of individuals who are infected with coronavirus may remain asymptomatic. “One of the [pieces of] information that we have pretty much confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic,” Redfield said.
In a February 13 interview with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Redfield said asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus was possible and concerning, based on information from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There’s been good communication with our colleagues to confirm asymptomatic infection, to confirm asymptomatic transmission, to be able to get a better handle on the clinical spectrum of illness in China,” Redfield said. “What we don’t know though is how much of the asymptomatic cases are driving transmission.”