If I'm An Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carrier, How Long Will I Be Contagious?
We’re asking public health officials and experts to answer your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind that this information does not constitute professional medical advice. For questions regarding your own health, always consult a physician.
An audience member who only identified himself as Joe wanted to know, “If you are an asymptomatic carrier, how long will the virus live and how long will you be contagious?”
Here’s an explanation from Dr. Shruti Gohil with the University of California Irvine Medical Center, who’s helping lead the effort to prepare the hospital for COVID-19:
“Everything that we have seen so far verifies the experience in China. Once you acquire the illness, you may be infectious to other people for up to 14 days. Now, those who are asymptomatic may not know when Day 1 starts to start counting to Day 14. But it's encouraging to know that while asymptomatic individuals can get sick, their ability to spread the disease is far less than those who are actively symptomatic, who have secretions, who are coughing, who can take this virus and spread it around to other people.”
“It's when you share the same straw, you share the same drink, you were at a restaurant in a pub and you shared utensils. And when we cut out activities like this, that is the meaning behind the social distancing strategies that have been put into place — [it’s] that we're cutting out this type of activity, so that those asymptomatic spreaders then minimize that spread. That is the reason why we're doing this, not so much because coronavirus is in and of itself so dangerous to the vast majority of patients. It's more that [cutting] its circulation by common sense strategies like this will go far.”
We're all living through this extraordinary and frightening pandemic. The vast majority of our newsroom has been working from home (here's some advice on that) since March 11 to bring you calm, helpful reporting. We are answering your questions and taking more.
LAist is known for our events listings but now hopefully we'll be known for our non-event listings and tips for parents to try to keep you sane. And we're looking for your nominations for everyday heroes in this time of crisis. We're here to help. And if you can help support that effort financially, we'd be grateful.
DON'T MISS ANY L.A. CORONAVIRUS NEWS
Get our daily newsletter for the latest on COVID-19 and other top local headlines.