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Tam on asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19

Health Canada reports provinces and territories have been testing an average of 33,000 people daily, with nearly two-percent testing positive.

The agency’s top doctor addressed the World Health Organization shifting its view on the prevalence of asymptomatic people saying it is clear there are asymptomatic cases in the country.

Dr. Theresa Tam said depending on which population is being studied asymptomatic people can represent a significant proportion of cases. She highlights that some of these cases are in fact mildly symptomatic or what officials call pre-symptomatic as well. But according to Tam, there are studies that have shown that transmissions from asymptomatic people can happen.

She says one thing that has come to light is that asymptomatic people appear to have the same amount of virus in the back of the nose as those who are symptomatic. Tam says this revelation together with some of the information to date on transmission potential is why Health Canada has evolved its policies to take into account that exact possibility.

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