21 Health Questions About COVID-19 Answered

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6. Can coronavirus live in heat?

There is no question that COVID-19 can be transmitted when it’s warm, Siedner said. Whether warm weather decreases transmission is still debatable, he added. “But, principally, warm weather will not kill the coronavirus.”

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7. Can you test negative in the very beginning stages of the virus?

“Yes, it’s rare but it can happen,” Siedner said. It takes time for the virus to grow once it’s entered cells, so people should wait two to three days after they were first exposed before getting tested for the virus. People should take the antigen test, or the PCR test that looks for the virus itself. The antigen test is quite specific. There are rarely any false positives, according to Siedner.

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8. How long does it take for the body to develop antibodies?

It takes the body somewhere between seven and 21 days after the onset of symptoms to develop antibodies, according to Siedner. Therefore, if the test is taken too early, “[the results] may look negative even if you’ve already been exposed.”

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9. How do you know when it’s safe to discontinue home isolation?

The latest CDC guidelines recommend 10 days after the onset of symptoms. As of May 3, the novel coronavirus has not been successfully cultured in a lab more than nine days after onset of illness. People may test positive (antigen PCR test) for up to six weeks after the first symptoms show up, but it’s still unknown whether they can spread the virus during the entire time.

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10. Does the virus mutate enough to evade the immune system?

“We don’t know yet, and it’s too early to tell,” Siedner said. “This virus has a couple features that makes me think it does not mutate that much.” It actually has a proof-reading enzyme, which helps control its genetic duplication in a way that makes it less-likely to make errors when it mutates, Siedner explained. Still, it’s too early to know if a mutation of this virus is going to affect its ability to come back differently, or stronger, or cause a second wave, he added.