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Incubation Period of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is an incubation period?

The incubation period is the time from exposure of the infectious agent, such as a virus, until the time when the first signs or symptoms of the illness appear.

What is the incubation period for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period is 2 to 14 days. This means that if you are affected, you may begin to experience signs or symptoms at any time from 2 to 14 days after being exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Recent studies found that, on average, the incubation period is approximately 5 days. A study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst reported that approximately 97.5 percent of people who are infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) will develop symptoms within 11.5 days of exposure.

Coronavirus Incubation Period

In comparison to Coronavirus (COVID-19), what is the incubation for the regular flu?

According to the CDC, the incubation for the typical flu, a contagious reparatory illness caused by influenza virus, is generally 1 to 4 days, with symptoms usually beginning within 2 days. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has a significantly longer incubation period which means a person may be unaware they he or she was infected for several days.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The CDC lists the Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms to include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms, you should immediately seek medical advice.

How does Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) appears to be highly contagious and spread easily. Based on the CDC’s website, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to spread primarily from person-to-person. It can spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can be transferred by direct contact (touching) or by air (inhaling into lungs).

Additionally, it can also spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (door handles, gas pumps, clothing, shopping carts, etc.). This may occur if a person touches a contaminated surface or object and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes. According to Harvard Health’s website, the virus can survive up to two to three days on plastic or steel.

The best ways to avoid exposure are to practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from other people), regularly wash hands with soap and water, and to self-quarantine by staying at home. Many states have issued “stay at home” orders in order to prevent further exposure and the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As a reminder, we always recommend that you follow the advice of your health care provider.

Contagion Period of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Are people contagious during the incubation period?

There are confirmed reports of some people spreading Coronavirus (COVID-19) prior to showing any symptoms. This does not seem to occur in the majority of cases, but according the CDC, there is a possibility that Coronavirus (COVID-19) may be contagious for several days before a person experiences symptoms. In other words, it is possible that people can be contagious during the incubation period.

What is the contagion period?

The contagion period may begin before symptoms occur. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some tests have found that a person can still be contagious for some time after symptoms have gone away. Because of this, it is important that precautions be taken for at least few days after symptoms have improved.

As a reminder, we always recommend that you follow the advice of your health care provider.

What to do if you have Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you develop symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), you should immediately seek medical advice.

What is the purpose of quarantine?

A quarantine is a span of time for isolation due to potential exposure of a contagious disease or virus. According to the CDC, a quarantine is usually established for same amount of time as the incubation period of a contagious disease or virus. The purpose is to stop the possible spread of the contagious disease or virus.

Since the incubation period for Coronavirus (COVID-19) could be as long as 14 days, the CDC recommends a quarantine or self-isolation time of 14 days after any potential exposure. If a person is quarantined for 14 days without any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is assumed he or she was not affected, and he or she may continue with normal activities.

As a reminder, we always recommend that you follow the advice of your health care provider.

Recovery Period of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is the recovery period?

According to John Hopkins’ website, mild cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) usually recover within one to two weeks. For severe cases, the recovery may take three to six weeks and sometimes longer. It is estimated that about 1 percent of infected people across the world will die from Coronavirus (COVID-19).

How to determine if a person is no longer contagious?

If a person is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) but did not get tested, they are considered to no longer be contagious if the following has occurred:

  • No fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever reducing medicine), AND
  • Improvement of all other symptoms including cough and/or shortness of breath, AND
  • At least 7 days have passed since the first symptoms appeared.

If a person tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), they are considered to no longer be contagious if the following has occurred:

  • No fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever reducing medicine), AND
  • Improvement of all other symptoms including cough and/or shortness of breath, AND
  • Received two negative tests in a row that were done at least 24 hours apart.

As a reminder, we always recommend that you follow the advice of your health care provider.

If you recover from Coronavirus (COVID-19), can you get it again?

Currently, it is unknown whether or not people who recover from Coronavirus (COVID-19) can become affected again. Because this is a new virus, it is still unclear whether previously affected people will be immune to exposure.


Gomez Trial Attorneys
655 West Broadway, Suite 1700
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619)-237-3490

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