How Long After Close Contact To Get COVID (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Two To Five Days

Covid-19 is also known as the SARS-CoV2 variant of the coronavirus. The Covid-19 infections reached global proportions in the early days of 2020, and the pathogen was thus, declared as the catalyst of a global pandemic. People who have recovered from the Covid-19 infection are believed to possess a certain degree of immunity against future reinfections.

The human immune system works by remembering the pathogen that affected it the first time and counters this pathogen if re-encountered at a later point in time. Similarly, those receiving the Covid-19 vaccines are also proposed to have similar immunogenic protection against the virus.

How Long After Close Contact To Get COVID?

The effective immunity of an individual against any disease-causing pathogen is hinged on the particularities of their unique systems. However, experts can formulate a more or less accurate spectrum of immunity from certain viral strains. Research suggests that immunity against the Covid-19 virus can last up to a minimum of 8 months. The body retains the antibodies developed during the first infection. The body remembers the viral pathogen and thus triggers an immune response against the pathogen if it reenters the host later.

Research on the infectious nature of the Covid-19 virus suggests that a person who has contracted the virus will remain most contagious during the initial days of suffering from the ailment. The first 48 hours after contracting the Covid-19 virus are considered the most infectious for an individual. After this initial period, the infectious strength of the virus is weakened a little. However, if the person is not showing any symptoms, as has been the case of several Covid patients, it becomes difficult to institute the Covid protocols. This is because they are unaware of the infection and thus, do not self-isolate.

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Event After Close ContactTime After Close Contact
Getting infected with CovidTwo to Five Days
Recovery from CovidTwo to three weeks

The period between contracting a pathogen and developing symptoms of the disease is commonly known as the incubation period. During this period, the virus lies dormant in the host’s body. This can be anywhere between two to five days. However, some patients don’t show symptoms for up to fourteen days, and they are called asymptotic. Recovery from the virus generally takes two to three weeks.

Why Does It Take That long After Close Contact To Get COVID?

The two-week quarantine period is usually prescribed for all who display symptoms of the Covid-19 virus or test positive, as most researchers agree that the virus remains highly active during this period. Self-isolation is necessary during this period to help assuage the spread of the infection. A person usually remains most infectious during the initial days of the infection. The viral load during this time is relatively high as the body is still attempting to devise a strategy to fight the pathogen. Thus, during the first 48 hours, the person remains highly contagious.

It takes that long after close contact to get Covid because our immune system initially fights the virus and tries to protect us from it. Our immune system tries to destroy the virus pathogens and remembers them not to get affected in the future. In a person who has successfully recovered from the virus, his immune system will remember the Covid-19 strain. Antibodies are protein-based elements found in the human immune system that help counter infections; when a person recovers from Covid, the body stores the antibodies specifically formed to fight the disease.

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However, despite these given protocols and guidelines, scientists believe that the actual time frame of the infectious nature of the virus cannot be definitively determined. As there are multiple mutant strains of the virus and each individual’s body chemistry is different from the other, there is no given way of asserting a proven and deterministic time frame for the demolition of the infectious qualities of the virus.  

Conclusion

Covid-19 is a highly contagious form of coronavirus. The highly contagious nature of the virus has wreaked havoc in the global community. As scientists try to find a definitive cure for the virus, they have made some progress in answering the multiple questions in people’s minds worldwide.

On average, a person catches Covid within two to five days after coming in close contact with the virus. The first two days remain crucial as the onset of symptoms makes the individual very contagious. Alternatively, after the initial ten days of suffering from the ailment, the individual’s viral load reduces, making him less infectious.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1074761320303125
  2. https://www.pnas.org/content/100/22/12995.short
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