You Can Infect Others Even If You Don’t Have Symptoms
You may be infected but not have symptoms. However, you can still spread the virus to others. You may:
- develop symptoms later
- never develop symptoms
Follow the advice of your local public health authority on quarantine or isolation if you:
- dont have symptoms but have been exposed to someone who has or who may have COVID-19
- have tested positive
Vaccination efforts continue to increase vaccine coverage and lower community transmission. Even with increased coverage, continue to follow the advice of your local public health authority on the use of individual public health measures.
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When Are You No Longer Infectious
But were not sure whether people are infectious when they have recovered but the virus can still be detected in their bodies.
One study from Hong Kong found the virus could be detected for 20 days or longer after the initial onset of symptoms in one-third of patients tested.
Another study from China found found the virus in a patients faecal samples five weeks after the first onset of symptoms.
But the detection of the virus doesnt necessarily mean the person is infectious. We need more studies with larger sample sizes to get to the bottom of this question.
What Is The Difference Between A Pcr Test And An Antigen Test For Covid
PCR tests and antigen tests are both diagnostic tests, which means that they can be used to determine whether you currently have an active coronavirus infection. However, there are important differences between these two types of tests.
PCR tests detect the presence of the virus’s genetic material using a technique called reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, or RT-PCR. For this test, a sample may be collected through a nasal or throat swab, or a saliva sample may be used. The sample is typically sent to a laboratory where coronavirus RNA is extracted from the sample and converted into DNA. The DNA is then amplified, meaning that many of copies of the viral DNA are made, in order to produce a measurable result. The accuracy of any diagnostic test depends on many factors, including whether the sample was collected properly, when during the course of illness the testing was done, and whether the sample was maintained in appropriate conditions while it was shipped to the laboratory. Generally speaking, PCR tests are highly accurate. However, it can take days to over a week to get the results of a PCR test.
It may be helpful to think of a COVID antigen test as you would think of a rapid strep test or a rapid flu test. A positive result for any of these tests is likely to be accurate, and allows diagnosis and treatment to begin quickly, while a negative result often results in further testing to confirm or overturn the initial result.
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Symptoms Spread And Other Essential Information
What is coronavirus and how does it spread? What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms? How long does coronavirus live on different surfaces? Take a moment to reacquaint yourself with basic information about this virus and the disease it causes.
Click to read more about COVID-19 symptoms, spread, and other basic information.
When You Do Not Need To Self
If you live with or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19, you will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- you’re fully vaccinated this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine
- you’re under 18 years and 6 months old
- you’re taking part or have taken part in an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- you’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
Even if you do not have symptoms, you’re strongly advised to:
- do daily rapid lateral flow tests , if youre fully vaccinated, to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 – find out more about daily testing on GOV.UK
- consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk from COVID-19
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Basic Timeline Before Symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention believe that it takes around 2 to 14 days to develop symptoms of COVID-19 once you and counter someone infected with the virus.
The time frame of two to 14 days is a much bigger timeframe, and several teams of scientists are doing intensive research on the wireless to shorten the time frame and get more clear results.
Some people who are already struggling with chronic diseases might develop symptoms even after the second day of their encounter with someone infected.
It is a very weird case, and the Centers for Disease Control and prevention categorized those people as immune-compromised over people at high risk of developing severe symptoms.
Most studies on the time frame of COVID-19 suggest that people start developing the symptoms of COVID-19 after the 5th to 7th day of their encounter with someone infected with COVID-19.
People with a good immune system might take around 10 to 14 days to develop symptoms related to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and prevention have mentioned on its official website that around 1% of people might even develop symptoms after 14 days of their and counter someone being infected.
What Should I Do If I Think I Or My Child May Have A Covid
First, call your doctor or pediatrician for advice.
If you do not have a doctor and you are concerned that you or your child may have COVID-19, contact your local board of health. They can direct you to the best place for testing and treatment in your area.
If you have a high or very low body temperature, shortness of breath, confusion, or feeling you might pass out, you need to seek immediate medical evaluation. Call the urgent care center or emergency department ahead of time to let the staff know that you are coming, so they can be prepared for your arrival.
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How Covid Damages The Brain
COVID can cause damage to the brain directly by encephalitis, which may have devastating or subtle consequences. In one British study of 12 patients with encephalitis, one made a full recovery, 10 made a partial recovery, and one died. This study also found that a number of patients with COVID suffered strokes. In fact, COVID infection is a risk factor for strokes. A group of Canadian doctors found that individuals over 70 years of age were at particularly high risk for stroke related to COVID infection, but even young individuals are seven times more likely to have a stroke from this coronavirus versus a typical flu virus.
Autopsy data from COVID patients in Finland suggests that another major cause of brain damage is lack of oxygen. Particularly worrisome is that several of the patients who were autopsied did not show any signs of brain injury during the course of their COVID infection yet all had brain damage. In one patient there was loss of taste, and in two there was minimal respiratory distress, but none of these patients were thought to have any brain damage while alive.
How Reliable Are The Tests For Covid
Two types of diagnostic tests are currently available in the US. PCR tests detect viral RNA. Antigen tests, also called rapid diagnostic tests, detect specific proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. Antigen test results may come back in as little as 15 to 45 minutes you may wait several days or longer for PCR test results.
The accuracy of any diagnostic test depends on many factors, including whether the sample was collected properly. For PCR tests, which are typically analyzed in a laboratory, test results may be affected by the conditions in which the test was shipped to the laboratory.
Results may also be affected by the timing of the test. For example, if you are tested on the day you were infected, your test result is almost guaranteed to come back negative, because there are not yet enough viral particles in your nose or saliva to detect. The chance of getting a false negative test result decreases if you are tested a few days after you were infected, or a few days after you develop symptoms.
Generally speaking, if a test result comes back positive, it is almost certain that the person is infected.
A negative test result is less definite. There is a higher chance of false negatives with antigen tests. If you have a negative result on an antigen test, your doctor may order a PCR test to confirm the result.
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Isolation For Positive Cases
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention have a simple set of guidelines for people who tested positive for COVID-19. These guidelines are applicable to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.
Regardless of your vaccination status, you should isolate yourself for at least five days once you start developing symptoms related to COVID-19 and you have encountered someone with an infection.
You are not advised to travel until the 10th day of the start of your symptoms. If you are up to date with your vaccine and you have to travel with an infection, then you should follow all the precautions.
You should keep testing yourself at regular intervals of five days. You can end your isolation if you spend 24 hours fever free without any medication.
Kindly do not meet anyone with chronic disease or immune-compromised. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend you not remove your mask.
In case you do not develop any symptoms even after getting a positive test report, you can end your isolation after the 5th day. Under any circumstances, you should keep tracking your symptoms till the 10th day.
Can A Person Who Has Been Infected With Coronavirus Get Infected Again
Natural immunity to COVID-19 is the protection that results from having been sick. But we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts, or how strong it is. We are learning that vaccination strengthens the natural immune response and reduces the risk that you will get infected again.
There have been confirmed cases of reinfection with COVID-19. In other words, a person got sick with COVID-19, recovered, and then became infected again. It’s also worth noting that someone who has been reinfected even someone with no symptoms has the potential to spread the virus to others.
We have also learned that people who have gotten sick with COVID-19 benefit from getting vaccinated. A study published in MMWR reported that people who were unvaccinated were about twice as likely to be reinfected as people who were fully vaccinated.
The bottom line? Get vaccinated whether or not youve already had COVID-19.
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How Can I Protect Myself While Caring For Someone That May Have Covid
You should take many of the same precautions as you would if you were caring for someone with the flu:
- Stay in another room or be separated from the person as much as possible. Use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if available.
- Make sure that shared spaces in the home have good air flow. If possible, open a window.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Extra precautions:
- You and the person should wear a face mask if you are in the same room.
- Wear a disposable face mask and gloves when you touch or have contact with the person’s blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, sputum, nasal mucus, vomit, urine.
- Throw out disposable face masks and gloves after using them. Do not reuse.
- First remove and throw away gloves. Then, immediately clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Next, remove and throw away the face mask, and immediately clean your hands again with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
People At Higher Risk Of Severe Illness
People with underlying health conditions are most at risk of COVID-19 becoming a severe illness. You are more vulnerable if you:
- are over 70 years old with a medical condition
- live in an aged care facility where spread can occur more easily
- have a medical condition and/or compromised immunity.
- are pregnant.
Read more advice for COVID-19 and higher risk people.
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How Long Do Covid
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know how long a breakthrough case will present symptoms, as each case is unique and your personal health history may influence the length of your recovery. But experts have eagerly documented current and earlier Omicron-based outbreaks in major cities across the country, allowing them to have a better idea of how well vaccines are protecting individuals and influencing recovery periods in 2022.
As a general rule, breakthrough COVID-19 cases often present symptoms that may affect individuals acutely anywhere from a few days up to two full weeks, Boden-Albala clarifies. But as the current viral strain of SARS-CoV-2, BA.2.12.1, often results in milder symptoms in a majority of cases, the likelihood of symptoms extending beyond a full week isn’t high.
This is why current CDC quarantine rules have been adapted in recent months, Dr. Wright explains. “I would suggest that an infection that occurs after vaccination would last, on average, about four to five days, and would be accompanied by a runny nose, sore throat and cough,” he adds.
There are exceptions for those individuals, particularly those already considered at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness, who end up experiencing post-COVID syndrome otherwise known as “Long” Covid.
When Is The Coronavirus The Most Contagious
Researchers estimate that people who get infected with the coronavirus can spread it to others 2 to 3 days before symptoms start and are most contagious 1 to 2 days before they feel sick.
It’s possible that, because of its shorter incubation period, you may become contagious more quickly if you have the Omicron variant. But we need more research on this.
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Have Certain Ethnic Groups Been Harder Hit By Covid
Yes. Many researchers have analyzed data across the country and in some large cities, looking at number of confirmed cases and deaths based on race and ethnicity and related factors. They found that African Americans and the Latino-Hispanic populations have disproportionately higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.
Researchers suspect this might be because these ethnic groups tend to:
- Live in more crowded housing situations living in densely populated areas and in multi-generational households making social distancing practices difficult.
- Work in consumer-facing service industries and are more likely to use public transportation to get to work, putting them at risk for increased exposure to COVID-19.
- Be at increased risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19 because of higher rates of existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and heart, liver and kidney diseases.
- Be more likely to be uninsured or lack a consistent care source, which limits access to COVID-19 testing and treatment services.
Researchers are still studying other factors that may make ethnic groups more susceptible to negative COVID-19 outcomes, including:
- Inability to wake up from sleep.
- Bluish lips or face.
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Contact your healthcare provider if you are concerned you may have coronavirus or have any severe symptoms.
How Long Do People Usually Test Positive For Covid
For the most part, people will test positive for COVID-19 on an antigen or rapid test for up to about 10 days, Matt Binnicker, PhD, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic, told Health. But when using polymerase chain reaction tests, people can test positive for even longerup to two months, said Binnicker.
The CDC backs this up: In August 2020, the agency updated its isolation guidance to clarify that people can continue to test positive for COVID-19 up to three months after their initial diagnosis, but aren’t infectious to others in that time period.
The discrepancies between tests and the lengths of their positive results boils down to what each test looks for, and its sensitivity. PCR tests, for example, are designed to pick up viral RNA, or the virus’ genetic material, David Dowdy, MD, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Health. “Even if the virus is dead, the RNA can still be hanging around, so you can get a false positive up to two months or so after the infection,” Dr. Dowdy said. “It’s not super super common, but it certainly does happen.”
Meanwhile, antigen testsmore often known as rapid or at-home testsdetect antigens, or specific proteins from the virus. The CDC says antigen tests are generally less sensitive than PCR tests, and both tests work best in symptomatic people.
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How Long After I Start To Feel Better Will Be It Be Safe For Me To Go Back Out In Public Again
The most recent CDC guidance states that someone who has had COVID-19 can discontinue isolation once they have met the following criteria:
The CDC is no longer recommending a negative COVID-19 test before going back out in public.
Anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 but never experienced symptoms may discontinue isolation 10 days after they first tested positive for COVID-19.