With Covid-19 shaking the majority of the population of our planet, China is finally recuperating after a long struggle with the coronavirus outbreak. Other countries are still waiting for the worst to happen, trying to be as prepared as possible. However, some patients have already recovered from the virus and returned to their homes with little or none of the previously experienced symptoms.
One of the questions that might concern them, as well as those around them, is if they are still a danger to their environment and if they can infect others even though they recovered and have been released by medical authorities.
Surviving In A Respiratory Tract For Over A Month
The studies are still far from providing precise evidence as to how long the infection lasts after the recovery of the immune system. Woelfel, Corman, Guggemos, and other scientists in Munich and Berlin have published research on virological assessment of hospitalized cases, suggesting that people infected with coronavirus transmit high amounts of the virus early on, with the risk of contagion progressively decreasing after ten days of first serious signs of illness.
It is possible for them to still be contagious, but the chances seem to be decreasing after the early stages of development. A recent study issued in the journal JAMA researched four people that were treated at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, finding that some of the recovered patients still carry the virus, even after their symptoms resolved. The virus is obviously still present in their bodies, surviving even after the symptoms have retreated.
A study issued in The Lancet medical journal shows that Covid-19 can survive in a respiratory tract for more than a month! Generally, the virus is present in the body for an average of 24 days. The studies conducted are still not conclusive as to how infectious people are after surviving the virus, but there are some risks involved even after the recuperation. The correct medical information still needs to be determined, and we need to be very careful in how we use this data.
I Do Not Sneeze, But I Might Still Be Contagious
Ebenezer Tumban, a virologist at Michigan Tech University, informs us that many viruses can stay in a body after people recover from an illness, albeit in significantly lower levels. It is just how they are. Ebola virus is one such virus, known to linger in human organism months after recovery. In the case of the Wuhan patients that recovered but still had traces of the virus, it is possible that after the medical treatment, viruses replicated again, but without causing symptoms.
Krys Johnson, an epidemiologist at Temple University's College of Public Health, concluded that their contagion level was probably very low, but enough to be recognized by medical tests. They could have transferred the virus with well-known symptoms such as coughing, but the symptoms were not so frequent. He concludes that there would need to be a much closer and more intense contact to enable virus transmission in such cases.
We Still Do Not Know For Sure
While contributions to understanding the progression of the coronavirus have been made, there is still a need for future research before we can answer our main question of infection after recovery. The best thing we can do is remain scientifically informed, cautious, and above all - responsible. This is especially true for those that have beaten the Covid-19 and returned to their homes. It is possible they can still be a threat to others and themselves.
About the Author
Antonia is a sociologist and an anglicist by education, but a writer and a behavior enthusiast by inclination. If she's not writing, editing or reading, you can usually find her snuggling with her huge dog or being obsessed with a new true-crime podcast. She also has a (questionably) healthy appreciation for avocados and Seinfeld.
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