5 common questions about curing the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Most people infected with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) are able to achieve a cure and fully recover, since the immune system is able to eliminate the virus from the body. However, the amount of time that can pass from the time the person has the first symptoms to being cured can vary from case to case, ranging from 14 days to 6 weeks.

After the person is considered cured, the CDC, which is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, assumes that there is no risk of disease transmission and that the person is immune to the new coronavirus. However, the CDC itself indicates that further studies with recovered patients are still needed to prove these assumptions.

1. When is the person considered healed?

According to the CDC, a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 can be considered cured in two ways:

With COVID-19 test

The person is considered cured when he gathers these three variables:

  1. He does not have a fever, without using fever remedies;
  2. Has improvement in respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing and difficulty breathing;
  3. It was negative in 2 tests of COVID-19, made more than 24 hours apart.

This form is more used for patients admitted to the hospital, who have diseases that affect the immune system or who have severe symptoms of the disease at some point in the infection.

Generally, these people take longer to be considered cured, since, due to the severity of the infection, the immune system has a harder time fighting the virus.

Without COVID-19 test

A person is considered healed when:

  1. Has no fever for more than 3 days, without medication;
  2. Has improvement in respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing and difficulty breathing;
  3. More than 7 days have passed since the first symptomsof COVID-19.

This form is generally used in the mildest cases of the infection, especially in people who are recovering in isolation at home.

2. Is being discharged from the hospital the same as being cured?

Discharging from the hospital does not always mean that the person is cured. This is because, in many cases, the person may be discharged when their symptoms improve and they no longer need to be under continuous observation in the hospital. In these situations, the person must remain in isolation in a room at home, until the symptoms disappear and is considered cured in one of the ways indicated above.

3. Can the cured person pass the disease?

So far it is considered that the person cured of COVID-19 has a very low risk of being able to transmit the virus to other people. Although the cured person may have some viral load for several weeks after the symptoms disappear, the CDC considers that the amount of virus released is extremely low, with no risk of contagion.

In addition, the person also ceases to have constant coughing and sneezing, which are the main form of transmission of the new coronavirus.

Even so, further investigations are needed and, therefore, health authorities recommend that basic care such as washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose whenever you need to cough, as well as avoiding being in closed public places. Find out more about the care that helps prevent the infection from spreading .

4. Is it possible to get COVID-19 twice?

After blood tests done on recovered people, it was possible to observe that the body develops antibodies, such as IgG and IgM, which seem to guarantee protection against a new infection by COVID-19.

However, there are also reports of some rare cases of people in China and Korea who have returned positive results for COVID-19, even after being considered cured.

Thus, the CDC indicates that further investigations are still needed to understand the reasons that may lead people to be infected again, and to find out whether immunity is permanent or if it lasts a period after infection.

5. Are there any long-term sequelae of infection?

So far, there are no known sequelae directly related to the COVID-19 infection, since most people seem to recover without permanent sequelae, mainly because they had a mild or moderate infection.

In the case of the most serious infections of COVID-19, in which the person develops pneumonia, it is possible that permanent sequelae may arise, such as decreased lung capacity, which can cause shortness of breath in simple activities, such as walking fast or climbing stairs . Even so, this type of sequel is related to lung scars left by pneumonia and not by coronavirus infection.

Other sequelae may also appear in people who are hospitalized in the ICU, but in these cases, they vary according to age and the presence of other chronic diseases, such as heart problems or diabetes, for example.


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