Back to top

Report: Some COVID-19 patients remain infectious for several days after symptoms are gone

Image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Information from a study of COVID-19 patients with mild cases, treated at the PLA General Hospital in Beijing, indicates that people should stay in isolation for a further two weeks after their last symptoms have disappeared.

Dr. Lokesh Sharma of the Yale School of Medicine was a co-lead author of the report.  He commented, "The most significant finding from our study is that half of the patients kept shedding the virus even after resolution of their symptoms. More severe infections may have even longer shedding times."

Patients in the study suffered symptoms for an average of eight days, but remained infectious for up to eight days after their symptoms were gone.

The study was a small one, with only 16 patients.  Their main symptoms were cough, sore throat (pharynx), fever, and laboured breathing; their average age was just over 35 years. 

Given the small size of the study, the take-away for better prevention of spreading the coronavirus is that people who have suffered symptoms of COVID-19 should assume that they are still infectious – and should stay in isolation – for another two weeks after their symptoms have disappeared.