How a person can transmit COVID-19 while his COVID-19 is still in incubation state?

A person with SARS 2003 cannot transmit that disease while his SARS is in incubation state but how a person with COVID-19 is transmitting COVID-19 even though his COVID-19 is in incubation period?

The incubation period is the time it takes from the infection of a patient with a disease until he develops symptoms. How fast this happens depends on the disease.

According to the references the main difference is that SARS 2003 replicates in the lung/lower airways, while SARS-CoV-2 also replicates in the upper airways and sheds high viral loads there early in the course of the disease.

Since both diseases are transmitted by droplets, it is much easier to have a sufficient viral load in infected cells from the upper airways compared to the lower ones.


  1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection of Human Ciliated Airway Epithelia: Role of Ciliated Cells in Viral Spread in the Conducting Airways of the Lungs
  2. Virological assessment of hospitalized patients with COVID-2019

The truth about COVID-19 and asymptomatic spread: It’s common, so wear a mask and avoid large gatherings

A recent study found that nearly 40% of children who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic. People of all ages can be asymptomatic and can still spread the virus to others. Photo: Getty Images.

Asymptomatic spread has been one of the most mysterious and haunting aspects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Do people without any symptoms of COVID-19 help spread the virus? The alarming answer is yes.

Evidence continues to mount that a large percentage of people who test positive for COVID-19 don’t have any obvious symptoms.

Among the research related to asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus so far:

  • Up to 50% of people who had COVID-19 in Iceland were asymptomatic after health officials did broad lab testing of the population there.
  • Nearly 40% of children ages 6 to 13 tested positive for COVID-19, but were asymptomatic, according to just published research from the Duke University BRAVE Kids study. While the children had no symptoms of COVID-19, they had the same viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in their nasal areas, meaning that asymptomatic children had the same capacity to spread the virus compared to others who had symptoms of COVID-19.
  • And, a study from Singapore early in the COVID-19 pandemic showed that people who were asymptomatic still were spreading SARS-CoV-2 to others.

“Asymptomatic spread definitely plays a role in community spread,” said Dr. David Beckham, an infectious disease specialist who studies viruses in a lab he runs at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Wearing masks helps prevent asymptomatic spread of COVID-19

That means it’s all the more critical for people to follow public health measures that clearly work, chief among them wearing masks, staying far apart from people and washing hands frequently.

“The closer we can get to 100% mask wearing, the quicker we can end this outbreak and get out of the current spike of the disease,” Beckham said.

Dr. David Beckham is an expert on viruses. He said it’s critical to wear masks because a high percentage of people with COVID-19 can be asymptomatic. Photo: UCHealth.

Public health experts estimate that about 60-to-70% of people in the U.S. routinely are wearing masks when they’re out in public and are exposed to people outside of their homes. Boosting mask wearing to 80-to-85% would dramatically drive down infections and result in fewer illnesses and deaths from COVID-19.

“We need to remember to protect each other. Everybody has a grandparent or knows someone who is high-risk. Simply wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of distance from others works to reduce infections since we know that asymptomatic spread occurs,” Beckham said.

In general, masks protect other people. But, new research also shows that people who wear masks may not get as sick if they get exposed to people with COVID-19. The mask may reduce the viral load that the person wearing it receives.

Wearing masks clearly works as do other prevention measures, Beckham said.

“We all can significantly impact how much transmission is going on in the community. We all can protect grandparents and family members who may be at risk for severe disease.”

Avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings this year

Beckham and researchers at his lab study viruses similar to coronaviruses called flaviviruses. They include common viruses like West Nile, Dengue, tick-borne encephalitis and Zika virus. Throughout the pandemic, Beckham and researchers in his lab have been studying various aspects of SARS-CoV-2. He’s assisting with vaccine trials and is leading a clinical trial related to convalescent plasma. The results of that research are due out soon.

Like many medical experts, Beckham has canceled his plans to celebrate Thanksgiving with extended family. He and his wife will celebrate on their own with their children this year.

“It’s sad that we have to do this this year. But, we’re all working hard on vaccines and I’m hoping we can have a normal Thanksgiving next year,” Beckham said.

COVID-19 infections are setting records in Colorado and asymptomatic spread is common. Experts are advising people to stay home and stay safe. Celebrate Thanksgiving with immediate family only. Photo: Getty Images.

Until we have vaccines, he encouraged individuals to do as much as they can now to tamp down spread of the virus so we can all enjoy great gatherings and milestones in future years.

“It’s hugely important for people to understand that there are a lot of asymptomatic people and there’s a lot of asymptomatic spread,” Beckham said.

“But, we can protect each other if we just do simple things.”

Beckham’s advice for staying safe and preventing asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 includes the following basic tips:

  • Wear masks in public.
  • Keep gatherings as small as possible.
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance from others.
  • Comply with public health orders.
  • Avoid gatherings with groups outside of your family. Be especially wary of indoor spaces with poor ventilation. Limit time indoors in public settings and always wear a mask.
  • If you are outdoors and can stay at least six feet away from others and are not with anyone outside of your household, you can walk or exercise without wearing a mask. But, if you are in crowded areas like a parking lot or trailhead, Beckham urges people to wear masks.
  • Wash hands frequently.

Beckham said researchers continue to learn more about how easily and how much asymptomatic people spread the virus.

“What’s the rate for asymptomatic people to spread the virus to someone else? That’s a separate question, which is even more difficult to get at,” Beckham said.

Over time, researchers will learn much more. For now, Beckham said there have been some small studies looking at testing and contact tracing.

“There’s no question that people who are infected but don’t have symptoms are transmitting the virus,” Beckham said. “It’s probably relatively common as a mechanism of spread.”

An analysis of multiple studies in the journal, PLOS Medicine, found that approximately 20-to-30% people infected with SARS-CoV-2 remained asymptomatic throughout the course of their infection. The remaining patients included in the studies went on to develop symptoms and the researchers defined them as “presymptomatic.” Both presymptomatic and asymptomatic people can transmit SARS-CoV2, and presymptomatic people transmit at higher rates than asymptomatic people. These data show that presymptomatic and asymptomatic infections contribute to SARS-CoV2 transmission, thus making prevention measures like hand hygiene, masks, testing, tracing, social distancing, and isolation strategies all the more essential to reduce and control the spread of the virus.

Is asymptomatic spread unusual?

While it’s confounding to many people that a virus can spread before the person who is infected with it even knows that they are sick or showing any symptoms, Beckham said it’s not unusual. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is what’s known as an RNA virus.

“With RNA viruses and other respiratory viruses, it’s quite common for people to be asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic. That’s probably an important way for them to spread,” Beckham said.

West Nile virus is a good example, Beckham said.

“If you take everyone who gets infected (with West Nile), about 80% are asymptomatic. A lot of these viruses cause asymptomatic infections. That’s probably because our innate immune defenses fight off the virus before the infection gets going,” Beckham said.

Mosquitos rather than humans spread West Nile, so asymptomatic spread is a separate issue. But, with viruses like Zika and Dengue, a person can be infected and not have symptoms. Yet, that person may have enough of the virus in their body that a mosquito who bites them can become infected with the virus, and in turn, spread it to other people.

Is it common for viruses to affect people of varying ages differently?

Age also seems to affect the degree to which people are asymptomatic when they contract a virus. The Duke study of children with COVID-19 found that asymptomatic cases were highest among kids ages 6 to 13. Asymptomatic cases were less common — but still occurred 25% of the time — in children ages 0 to 5 and teens who were 14 to 20 years old. The study did not look at adults, but older people have fared worse when they get COVID-19.

Beckham said it’s quite common for different viruses to affect people of various ages in different ways. Some can be more severe in children or young adults. Other infectious illnesses like SARS-CoV-2 and the flu are more dangerous to older people. People with underlying health conditions and older people have been among those who have been most critically ill and who have died at higher rates from COVID-19.

“Kids seem to have lower overall rates of infection, but they clearly can get infected and they can be asymptomatic,” Beckham said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done to understand the epidemiology of these younger kids. I don’t think we know exactly what role they play in the spread of the virus.”

While researchers have much more to learn about how common asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 are and exactly how asymptomatic spread occurs, there’s plenty of evidence to warrant concern and careful behavior now.

Beckham’s take-home message to reduce asymptomatic spread boils down to this simple advice. “Wear your mask.”

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of COVID-19 include but aren't limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How a person can transmit COVID-19 while his COVID-19 is still in incubation state? - Biology

The 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It’s called a “novel” — or new — coronavirus, because it is a coronavirus that has not been previously identified.

COVID-19 is the same type of coronavirus as MERS and SARs, both of which originated in bats. Many of the first people to contract COVID-19 in Wuhan either worked or frequently shopped at a large seafood and live-animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that have a crown-like (corona) appearance when viewed under a microscope. Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold, with symptoms that last only a short time. However, two other human coronaviruses, MERS and SARs, have been known to cause severe symptoms and even death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever greater than 100.4°F (38.0°C), chills, dry cough, fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sudden loss of sense of smell or taste, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, nausea or diarrhea, muscle or body aches, and headache. These symptoms typically begin gradually.

Not all affected individuals will exhibit all symptoms, and there is now evidence that up to 40 percent of infected individuals will have no symptoms at all. If you are concerned about symptoms you are experiencing, you should speak with your personal healthcare provider to get advice about what to do next.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with each other (within 6 feet). An infected person is likely to exhale small droplets and particles that contain the virus. You could be infected by breathing in air containing those small viral particles. You could also be infected by having these small droplets and particles land on your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.

Research has shown that it is highly unlikely to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, the CDC still recommends frequent hand-washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub.

The CDC defines “close contact” as either:

  1. being “within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) for at least 15 cumulative minutes within a 24-hour period” of an individual who has been positively diagnosed with the virus or
  2. “direct contact with infectious secretions.” Examples include sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation, or kissing, hugging, and other direct physical contact.

“Close contact” does not include activities such as walking by a person or briefly sitting across a waiting room or office.

The time between exposure to a contagious illness and the onset of symptoms is called the “incubation period.” Based on what has been seen previously with similar viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the incubation period for COVID-19 to be from 2–14 days. The average is five days from exposure to symptom onset.

The risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 increases steadily with age. Eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States have been among individuals aged 65 years and older. Certain underlying medical conditions also increase your risk for severe illness. These include type 2 diabetes, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), chronic kidney disease, immune deficiency, and obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Other medical conditions, such as asthma, smoking, and pregnancy, may also increase an individual’s risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

If you are concerned about symptoms you are experiencing or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19: You should call your medical provider immediately. Your provider can help make arrangements for you to be tested and give you advice about what to do next. If you are coming to campus regularly, you must also attest to your condition using the Covid Pass app.

If you need a COVID test for travel, documentation, or another reason, and you get your primary care at MIT Medical, you can be tested at MIT Medical. Call our Primary Care Service at 617-258-9355 to make an appointment. NOTE: Insurance does not cover testing that is not medically necessary, so you will be billed for the cost of this testing.

If you are coming to campus regularly, the Covid Pass app will notify you when you need to be tested. But, remember, if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, do not come to be tested at the Covid Pass testing site. Instead, call your medical provider to arrange for a COVID-19 test.

Yes, evidence indicates that people who are infected with 2019-nCoV may be at their most contagious in the 48–72 hours before symptoms are noticeable. In addition, it is now estimated that up to 40 percent of infected individuals remain asymptomatic and may unwittingly infect others. For that reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that non-vaccinated individuals wear non-medical-grade, cloth face coverings in public settings where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing, such as grocery stores. Evidence shows that wearing a mask helps to protect both you and those around you.

In addition to getting the COVID-19 vaccine, there are four main ways to protect yourself from COVID-19:

Pay attention to personal hygiene,

Practice social distancing,

Wear a face covering in public, and

While it is theoretically possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes, the CDC now says that “touching surfaces is not thought to be a common way that COVID-19 spreads.” And the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that “there are no specific reports which have directly demonstrated fomite transmission.”

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that, in laboratory tests, the virus was detectable for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and up to four hours on copper. But a “detectable” amount of virus is not the same as an infectious amount. In fact, most viral particles die relatively quickly outside of the body. Even on stainless steel and plastic, the half-life of the virus — the length of time it takes for half of the microbes in a given sample to die — was 5.6 and 6.8 hours respectively. On cardboard it was less than four hours.

While mail and packages could have small amounts of infectious viral particles on them, the risk is relatively low and any small risk can be eliminated through hand-washing.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that COVID-19 viral particles could remain suspended in the air for as long as a half hour. However, while this research showed the virus remaining airborne longer than originally thought, it also showed that the particles disperse quickly. Unless you are physically close to an infected person or in an enclosed space with poor ventilation you are unlikely to be at risk from viral aerosols. The risk of outdoor transmission, especially with physical distancing, is extremely low.

So, by all means, go for that walk! Exercise and fresh air are important for both physical and mental health, especially at this time. Your risk of becoming infected by a stray bit of airborne virus while out on a walk and maintaining a safe distance from others is minimal.

Almost certainly not. While we are still learning more about the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food.

This is not surprising based on what we know about the varying paths organisms take to make people sick. Respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, typically attach to cells in places like the lungs and cannot survive the acidic environment of the digestive system. In contrast, the microorganisms that cause digestive illnesses, like norovirus and salmonella, survive the acid in stomachs and make people ill by attaching to the cells inside people’s guts.

In addition, any viral particles landing on food would not be expected to remain viable for long. Unlike bacteria, viruses cannot grow inside food, so any amount of virus in food would diminish over time, rather than grow.

When it comes to food and COVID-19, the biggest risk is contact with other people — like cashiers, restaurant staff, or people delivering food. Minimizing or completely eliminating those contacts will greatly reduce any risk associated with food.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that non-vaccinated individuals wear non-medical-grade, cloth face coverings in public settings where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing, such as grocery stores. This recommendation is based on evidence that individuals may be at their most contagious in the 48–72 hours before symptoms are noticeable. In addition, it is now estimated that a large percentage of infected individuals remain asymptomatic and may unwittingly infect others. If everyone wears masks, this might help prevent those who are unknowingly infected from spreading the illness.

Individuals who are vaccinated may gather, unmasked, with other vaccinated individuals, but they should still follow the same masking and distancing precautions in public settings. That's because, while vaccinated individuals are well protected against getting sick themselves, they can still transmit the virus to others.

However, the CDC emphasizes, they do not recommend that individuals purchase N95 respirators that are desperately needed for frontline healthcare workers. Rather, the CDC recommends making your own. You can sew a mask or use a 3D printer the links below are a good place to start, but lots of other patterns and how-to videos are just a web search away.

No, there is no there is no recommendation from any public health agency that members of the general public wear N95 masks.

An N95 mask, or an “N95 particulate-filtering facepiece respirator,” is a medical-grade respirator that is designed to fit tightly around the nose and mouth. When worn correctly, it forms a tight seal on the wearer’s face and blocks out at least 95% of small airborne particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While very uncomfortable to wear, this type of heavy-duty mask is recommended for any healthcare provider who is caring for a patient with an illness that may be transmitted through particles or droplets in the air.

When it comes to face coverings, you should still pay attention to layers, filtration, and fit. And there are lots of ways to elevate your “mask game” without buying an N95. Read more: New variants of the virus are here do I need a better mask?

No. While it may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your own mouth, nose, or eyes, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not believe this is the main way the virus spreads. In addition, people who wear gloves often end up touching their faces as often as anyone else, and sometimes even more often, because gloves can give people a sense of false security, which makes them less attentive to good hygiene practices.

Although the CDC does not recommend that the general public wear disposable gloves to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or other viruses, they do recommend wearing disposable gloves if you are caring for someone who is ill, particularly when handling their laundry or potentially coming into contact with their bodily fluids.

If you have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, it could take up to 14 days to know if you will get sick. It is important for you to follow your state and local guidelines for quarantine. While you are quarantining, you should self-monitor for symptoms and practice social distancing to avoid infecting other people if you do have the virus:

  • Take your temperature twice a day, morning and night (and at least 30 minutes after eating, drinking, or exercising and 6 hours after taking any temperature-lowering medication, such as Ibuprofen or aspirin). Write down your temperature in a log.
  • Be alert for any other symptoms of COVID-19, including cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have a cough, trouble breathing, or a fever (temperature of 100.4°F or 38°C). DO NOT go to an emergency room, urgent care clinic, or healthcare provider’s office without calling ahead.
  • Stay home as much as possible, and avoid close contact with other people, even people you live with.

Yes, it’s possible, but it isn’t easy. The individual who is self-quarantining must stay as separate as possible from other people sharing the living space. They should stay in their own bedroom and, if possible, use a bathroom that is not shared with others. If the self-quarantining individual needs to come out of their room for any reason, they should wash their hands and wear a mask. If there’s only one bathroom, set up a bathroom rotation in which the self-quarantining individual uses the bathroom last and then disinfects it thoroughly (read more about proper disinfection techniques).

Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces frequently. This includes countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and bathroom surfaces. Wash your hands frequently.

Do not share any items with the self-quarantining individual. This includes dishes, drinking glasses, silverware, towels, phones, and remote controls. If possible, use a dishwasher to clean and dry dishes and silverware used by the self-quarantining individual. If this is not possible, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water. Dry them thoroughly, using a separate dishtowel.

Maybe. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Taking into account your individual risk of complications from contracting the virus, such as age or underlying medical conditions, it may make sense to suspend house-cleaning services during the pandemic. However, recognizing that house-cleaners are often immigrants and low-wage workers, you may want to consider continuing to pay them if you can afford to do so.

If you do continue to use house-cleaning services, it’s important to take precautions that protect both you and the cleaners. Even though they are there to make your house clean, they could still transmit the virus to you, or you to them, if either of you were infected. Make sure your cleaners don a fresh pair of disposable gloves when they enter your home and change them often while they are working. Stay at least six feet away from your cleaners while they are in your home. Ask them not to come if they feel sick, or if you become ill. You might also think about trying to limit the amount of time they spend in your home each time they visit perhaps more time-consuming cleaning jobs, like washing windows, can be done during a separate visit.

There’s no way to remove all risks associated with having people come into your house to clean, but being vigilant about following these precautions will mitigate these risks if you continue to use house-cleaning services during this time.

Yes, if you are healthy with no symptoms of upper-respiratory illness and no underlying medical conditions, and you haven’t traveled recently, then donating blood, platelets, or AB Elite plasma is one of the safest and most effective ways you can help our medical community right now.

According to the Red Cross, employees at every blood drive or donation center follow strict safety protocols that include changing gloves often, wiping down donor-touched areas after every collection, preparing the donor’s arm with an aseptic scrub, using sterile collection sets, and conducting mini-physicals to ensure that each donor is healthy and well. They are also practicing enhanced disinfecting of equipment, providing hand sanitizer for use throughout the donation process, and spacing beds to follow social distancing practices between donors.

Or go to the Red Cross website and enter your zip code to book an appointment at a location close to your home.

No. The pneumonia vaccine you got protects against a specific type of pneumonia caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. That vaccine will not protect against the type of viral pneumonia caused by COVID-19.

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“This research is a start but we need to better understand the processes of neuroinflammation in Long COVID, ME/CFS, and other often post-viral chronic complex diseases,” said Seltzer, urging greater funding.

Chronic inflammation is also believed to be one of the key features of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative diseases, said Wyss-Coray.

That’s troubling, he said, because it suggests that the chronically inflamed brains of COVID-19 patients might be at risk of other neurological problems, over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

People with chronic or underlying health conditions are more likely to become very sick from COVID-19. Those who have one or more of these conditions should be extra careful:

  • Moderate to severe asthma or chronic lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Weakened immune system because of smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, cancer treatment, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
  • Severe obesity

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (coronavirus) is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID – 19 is a new coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe.

What is the status of the COVID-19 outbreak? Am I at risk?

COVID-19 is considered a national health emergency. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment can change daily. For the latest national situation report please visit the CDC’s website . For current information concerning Florida visit the Florida Department of Health website.

What are the symptoms and signs of COVID-19?

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

What is the Florida Department of Health doing to address COVID-19?

The Florida Department of Health is actively working with private and public partners to monitor COVID-19. The Florida Department of Health has set up testing sites throughout the state and is preparing for vaccines to be distributed in Florida for vulnerable populations beginning in late 2020 or early 2021.

The Florida Department of Health is communicating regularly with the public and health care providers with updates on COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 at 1-866-779-6121.

How many cases of COVID-19 have been reported to the Florida Department of Health?

How does the virus spread?

The virus most likely originally emerged from an animal source and now spreads from person-to-person. Like the common cold, it is spread by droplets, often generated when a person sneezes or coughs.

Is COVID-19 the same as the MERS-CoV or SARS virus?

No. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. The recently emerged COVID-19 is not the same as the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or the coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Exposure to COVID-19 and Testing

Who do I call if I have a disability and need to be tested for COVID-19?

Call your doctor or your County Health Department if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms, and need to be tested. They will decide whether you need to be tested, tell you where to go, and link you to local resources for people who have limited mobility.

Where can I get an antibody test?

Currently, COVID-19 antibody tests are not widely available. If you need an antibody test, contact your local health care provider or County Health Department to find out if and where antibody testing is being offered in your area. Some private labs are conducting antibody testing with doctor’s orders.

If your antibody test comes back positive, you may have antibodies from the virus that causes COVID-19. Your health care provider may recommend getting a second test to confirm the reading. If your antibody test comes back negative, you may not have had COVID-19 before. It can take 1-3 weeks after infection to develop antibodies. Some people do not develop antibodies.

How do I get my COVID-19 test results?

The amount of time it takes to get your test results back varies. For information regarding your test, contact the testing facility that ordered or collected the test. The COVID-19 Call Center cannot provide results, or provide a status update.

What questions will a health care provider ask me when I call?

The Florida Department of Health follows CDC guidance on testing for COVID-19. This means that when a person goes to their local health care provider they will be asked the following questions:

  1. Did you have close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms?
  2. Are you located in an area where there is confirmed community spread?
  3. Are you experiencing unexplained respiratory illness that requires hospitalization?
  4. Have you traveled to or from an affected geographic area with community transmission in the last 14 days and have a fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness?

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, that person will be tested. Additionally, a person can be tested at the discretion of their local health care provider if they do not meet the above criteria.

The Florida Department of Health has three labs open in Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa that will continue to operate to provide results as quickly as possible.

How can I protect myself?

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus (and avoid exposing other people). Here’s how:

  • Practice social distancing.
  • Wear a cloth face cover in public.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces.

If I were exposed to COVID-19, how long would it take for me to become sick?

The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the “incubation period.” The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days, although in some cases it may be longer.

What should I do if I think I (or someone in my family) might have COVID-19?

The CDC recommends self-quarantining for 14 days if you have recently traveled to a high-risk area, even if asymptomatic. CDC guidelines allow for quarantine to end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms occur during 14 days of monitoring.

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath during self-quarantining, contact your health care professional and mention your recent travel. Your health care provider will help you determine the nearest COVID-19 testing center for you to visit.

CDC guidelines allow for quarantine to end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or after, and if no symptoms occur during 14 days of monitoring.

What should I do if I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If you have had close contact with someone showing COVID-19 symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should call your County Health Department or other health care professional to discuss the steps and precautions you should take.

How do you test a person for COVID-19?

Respiratory swabs (nose and throat) are collected by a health care provider and sent to a private laboratory or one of the state public health laboratories for COVID-19 testing.

To be tested for COVID-19 an order from a healthcare provider may be required. Your healthcare provider can either collect a sample for testing in their office or provide an order to obtain testing at an alternative testing site. Some testing sites require an order from a healthcare provider, and for an appointment to be scheduled in advance, though there are a number of sites that will test regardless of symptoms and without an appointment.

The locations of COVID-19 testing are decided and coordinated by local communities. Learn about state-supported testing sites.

More About COVID-19

Should I be concerned about pets or other animals and COVID-19?

While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person. The Florida Department of Health and CDC recommend that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead, but there is no reason to think that any animals or pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus.

How long can COVID-19 survive in the environment?

The length of time that the virus survives likely depends on factors. These factors could include the type of material or body fluid containing the virus and various environmental conditions such as temperature or humidity. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutions are designing standardized experiments to measure how long COVID-19 can survive in situations that simulate natural environmental conditions.

Are there disinfectants available that can inactivate (kill) COVID-19?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list of disinfectant products can be found at

What about products imported from areas of outbreak?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have any evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from areas with widespread community transmission pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

The CDC, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) play distinct but complementary roles in regulating the importation of live animals and animal products into the United States.

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are reliable and up-to-date sources of information about this evolving outbreak.

For Florida specific information, please consult the Florida Department of Health website:

Other Health Care Concerns

Can I go to my doctor’s office for other health concerns?

Yes, you should contact your healthcare professional just like you would at any other time. You should not delay in seeking medical care if you are concerned about your health, but call your healthcare provider before visiting the office.

If you are concerned about visiting your doctor, ask about what telehealth services they may offer. Your doctor’s office may ask screening questions, limit the number of people who can be in the office at any one time, require face masks, and introduce other processes to keep you safe.

Where can I find mental health resources?

The COVID-19 outbreak has been stressful for most people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can cause strong emotions in both adults and children. The CDC offers resources on how to cope with the stress surrounding COVID-19 .

Tracking the Spread of the Virus (Contact Tracing)

Will the Florida Department of Health call me if I have had potential exposure to COVID-19?

It’s important that you speak with a contact tracer if you have had potential exposure to COVID-19. The Florida Department of Health urges all Floridians to answer calls from (833) 917-2880, (833) 443-5364 and (850) 583-2419 as this is part of Florida’s comprehensive contact tracing effort.

Will my contacts know if I got them sick?

All public health professionals who conduct contact tracing are highly trained in confidentiality. When they talk to people who have been in contact with a patient, they do not share any information about that person under any circumstance.

Where can I learn more about contact tracing?

The Department’s COVID-19 contact tracing fact sheet is a great source of information about how contact tracing works. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides in-depth information about the principles and importance of contact tracing.

When is contact tracing done?

For contact tracing to be most effective, it should be carried out as soon after diagnosis as possible. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you will likely be contacted quickly by a public health professional to initiate contact tracing. It is important to remember, though, that not being contacted for contact tracing does not mean you did not test positive or that you cannot transmit COVID-19. Proper precautions, such as social distancing, regular hand washing, and wearing a mask, should still be taken.

What is the purpose of contact tracing?

Many communicable diseases, including COVID-19, can be spread by people who do not appear to be sick. Since these people feel well, they are unlikely to get tested and may not know they are carrying a virus. Contact tracing can help public health officials learn who these asymptomatic carriers are so they can be informed about appropriate prevention measures, to include testing and self-isolation. This helps keep disease at bay.

How does contact tracing work?

When a person tests positive for a disease or condition, a public health case investigator will work with the patient to create a list of people they’ve been in contact with during a given time frame. The contact tracing expert then contacts each of those people so that they can take appropriate precautions (getting tested, self-isolation, monitor for symptoms, etc.) and, in turn, create a list of people they’ve been in contact with as necessary. By using this strategy, public health professionals can get ahead of infectious diseases and prevent further spread.

Who does contact tracing?

Contact tracing is done by specially trained public health professionals. In general, these trained staff study patterns and causes of diseases in humans. Public health professionals tasked with contact tracing are experts in protecting client confidentiality, counseling, cultural competency, and more.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a disease control measure. Public health professionals work with patients to develop a list of everyone they have been in close contact with during a certain period. The staff will then contact those people to let them know about their possible exposure so that they can take proper precautions.


Can I travel to visit my family or friends?

Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. Traveling may be especially dangerous if you or who you are visiting are high-risk for contracting COVID-19. People at higher risk for severe illness need to take extra precautions . Visit the CDC’s website for more.

Visit Gov. DeSantis’ Reopening Plan for more information on traveling:

I have a vacation rental property, can I rent these properties to visitors?

Per Executive Order 20-139, effective June 5 (with exceptions in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties), vacation rentals may seek approval to operate vacation rentals by submitting a written request and a county vacation rental safety plan to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Is it safe to travel?

Domestic Travel: The COVID-19 outbreak in United States is a rapidly evolving situation. The status of the outbreak varies by location and state and local authorities are updating their guidance frequently. The White House’s Opening Up America Again plan means some parts of the country may have different guidance than other areas. Check with the state or local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.

International Travel: The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial travel options remain available, U.S. citizens should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite length of time. For more information, visit the Department of State website.

I have reviewed the CDC travel guidance and still do not believe it is safe to travel. Can I get a refund for any planned travel?

Each company establishes its own refund policies, and any decision regarding refunds are between the traveler and the individual company.

What Is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The COVID-19 is the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.

Since December 2019, cases have been identified in a growing number of countries. The District&rsquos surveillance data can be found here.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

Public health authorities are learning more every day. We will continue to update as we learn more.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle pain

How to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

The symptoms that are currently being seen with COVID-19 are cough, fever, headache, new loss of taste or smell, repeated shaking with chills, sore throat, shortness of breath, and muscle pain. To help prevent the spread of germs, you should:

  • Multiple times a day, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you have symptoms of acute respiratory illness.
  • Stay home from work or school until you are free of fever, signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours and without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medications.
  • Seek medical attention if you have reason to believe you have been exposed to coronavirus or influenza. Call your healthcare provider before visiting a healthcare facility.

Higher Risk Populations

Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions. If you are in this higher-risk population, the CDC recommends that you:

Make a Plan

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information on how to prepare your home and family for COVID-19. Recommendations include:

  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
  • Have supplies on hand
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time
    • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time

    If you are the family member or caregiver of someone at higher risk, you should:

    • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand
    • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan
    • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores

    CDC Recommendations

    Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:

    • It&rsquos currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.

    If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for:

    • People who recently traveled from China or another affected area and who have symptoms associated with COVID-19, and
    • People who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or pneumonia of unknown cause. (Consult the most recent definition for patients under investigation [PUIs].)

    If you are a healthcare provider or a public health responder caring for a COVID-19 patient, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.

    If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and develop symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure.

    If you are a resident in a community where person-to-person spread of COVID-19 has been detected and you develop COVID-19 symptoms, call your healthcare provider and tell them about your symptoms.

    For people who are ill with COVID-19, but are not sick enough to be hospitalized, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness.

    If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity for up to 14 days. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.

    Coronaviruses are named for their appearance: &ldquocorona&rdquo means &ldquocrown.&rdquo The virus&rsquos outer layers are covered with spike proteins that surround them like a crown.

    SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome. In 2003, an outbreak of SARS affected people in several countries before ending in 2004. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is similar to the one that caused the 2003 SARS outbreak.

    Since the 2019 coronavirus is related to the original coronavirus that caused SARS and can also cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, there is &ldquoSARS&rdquo in its name: SARS-CoV-2. Much is still unknown about these viruses, but SARS-CoV-2 spreads faster and farther than the 2003 SARS-CoV-1 virus. This is likely because of how easily it is transmitted person to person, even from asymptomatic carriers of the virus.

    Guidance Information and Guidance for Persons in Quarantine due to COVID-19

    You are required to quarantine (separate yourself) from other people because you have been exposed to the 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) the virus that causes COVID-19. If you have COVID-19, you could spread it to people around you and make them sick. Please note that individuals who had COVID-19 in the last 90 days (from day of symptom onset or day of first positive test if asymptomatic), AND individuals who have received either two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines or a single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, at least 14 days ago, are not required to quarantine following an exposure.

    The virus is spread through respiratory secretions (mucous and droplets from coughing, sneezing and breathing) from an infected person. Many people can have the virus without ever showing any symptoms, however, it can cause serious illness such as pneumonia (lung infection), and in some rare cases, death. If you are infected, it is possible to spread the virus to others even if you don’t have any symptoms.

    This information sheet provides you with information about what to do and not to do while you are in quarantine. If you have questions after reading this, you can call your local Board of Health, or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health which is available 24/7 at 617-983-6800.

    During your quarantine period, you must not have visitors in your home. The other people who live in your home can continue to do their normal activities as long as they are not in contact with you, as described further below, and have not been identified as a close contact and put into quarantine. If you test positive for COVID-19 and someone has come into contact with you, that person will likely need to be quarantined.

    COVID-19 transmission: What you need to know

    Dr Maria van Kerkhove, COVID-19 technical lead, says that the majority of transmission that is known till now is that people who have symptoms transmit the virus to other people through infectious droplets. "But, there are a subset of people of don't develop symptoms. We still don't have the answer to understand how many people don't have symptoms," she says.

    What does it mean to be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic?

    Asymptomatic COVID-19 positive means a person has been tested positive but has no symptoms, and does not go on to develop symptoms, says Dr Kerkhove in the video. "A number of people are reported asymptomatic, actually may have mild disease. They may go on to develop symptoms. They may not quite register that they are sick. They can feel just a little bit unwell or under the weather, or fatigued. Some of those individuals we would classify as pre-symptomatic," she adds. Pre-symptomatic COVID-19 positive means that a person has not yet developed symptoms.

    Is it possible to spread the infection if there are no symptoms?

    Viral shedding studies for some of the lab work show that there are people who are infected with COVID-19 can test positive one to three days before they develop symptoms. "This is something that has been known for sometime now. We need to better understand what proportion is that contributing to transmission. This is one of the major unknowns," says Dr Kerkhove.

    People who are infected with COVID-19 can test positive one to three days before they develop symptoms
    Photo Credit: iStock

    How asymptomatic people can spread the virus?

    Explaining how asymptomatic people can spread the virus, Dr Mike Ryan, EXD, WHO Health Emergencies Programme says, "For instance, if someone is in a nightclub, trying to talk to someone, and its too noisy, and you are too close to them, it's like you are projecting your voice at someone. In this situation, if the virus is present your upper respiratory mucosa, then there's every likelihood that you can project the virus."

    Many people with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, especially in early stages of the disease. "It is possible to catch COVID-19 from someone who has just a mild cough and does not feel ill. Some reports have indicated that people with no symptoms can transmit the virus. It is not yet known how often it happens. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the topic," states the WHO website.

    What is the situation right now?

    The last couple of days have been the highest number of daily cases in the world. So, in terms of pandemic generation, we are still very much on the up on the upward climb on this mountain, Dr Ryan adds. "As some countries have shown, if you go at this with a comprehensive approach in a very systematic way, then there is enough stopability for the virus."

    He goes on to add that as a society, we have some choices to make. "If we can identify cases and their contacts, and we ask those contacts to quarantine themselves, we support them in that quarantine, then that can be a very successful way of both stopping the disease and avoiding large-scale lockdowns in future," Dr Ryan adds. Watch the full video below.