Efforts are being made worldwide to contain the newest strain of the coronavirus: Covid-19, this includes recognising the symptoms, taking appropriate action and understanding how the virus spreads.

At the moment, it’s believed that coronavirus symptoms appear 2-14 days after exposure [1], but, is coronavirus contagious before symptoms occur?


Is Coronavirus Contagious Before Symptoms?


In general, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that people are thought to be highly contagious when they’re most symptomatic and at their sickest [2].

However, it is possible that the virus can be spread before symptoms appear - there have been some reports of this with Covid-19 but, it’s important to note that this isn’t believed to be the primary way this virus spreads [3].

During a press briefing at the Whitehouse, Dr. Deborah Birx, the administration's Coronavirus Response Coordinator, stated:

"Until you really understand how many people are asymptomatic and asymptomatically passing the virus on, we think it's better for the entire American public to know that the risk of serious illness may be low, but they could be potentially spreading the virus to others.

"That's why we're asking every American to take personal responsibility to prevent that spread." [4]


If I have no symptoms of the coronavirus, can I go about my everyday life?


Though it’s believed that people are most contagious when they’re most symptomatic, it’s crucial to remember that we’re still learning about this virus and this may not be the case.

So, wash those hands, stay at home if you’re sick, practice social distancing and play your part in protecting yourself and your loved ones from getting and spreading the virus.


Some CDC health guidelines to follow during this time include:

  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home if you’re sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue
  • Wear a facemask if you’re sick
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Symptoms. Online: Cdc.gov, 2020
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) How it Spreads. Online: Cdc.gov, 2020
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) How it Spreads. Online: Cdc.gov, 2020
  4. C-Span. President Trump and Coronavirus Task Force Hold News Conference. Online: C-Span.org, 2020