Story at a glance
- According to the World Health Organization, it can take anywhere from two to six weeks to recover from the novel coronavirus.
- The rate of recovery will depend on the severity of the disease as well as treatment.
- Recovering patients can still spread the disease as their body discharges the virus and should remain vigilant.
More than 250,000 people — including some you may know — have recovered from the coronavirus, more than three times as many as the number of deaths reported as of April 6. Still, as new cases continue to be reported each day, it’s worth knowing what you’re in for if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19.
With symptoms including tiredness, cough, fever, loss of smell, difficulty breathing and digestive issues, the condition ranges in both presentation and severity. Symptoms have been recorded to appear anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks, although some patients show no symptoms at all.
For mild cases, the median time from onset to clinical recovery is about two weeks —according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) joint report with China on COVID-19 published on Feb. 16 — while severe or critical cases can take three to six weeks. According to preliminary data, it takes about one week for cases to reach peak severity, before subsiding.
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In China, patients were discharged after more than three days without a fever, symptoms were resolved, radiologic improvement and two negative tests taken 24 hours apart, according to the WHO report. However, viral transmission can still occur at this time as the body sheds the coronavirus through saliva, feces, urine and other discharge, so patients in recovery should continue to minimize contact with others and wear a mask.
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