President Trump will attend his first public campaign event since his coronavirus diagnosis, which will make people wonder how long someone has been contagious with COVID-19.
The event will take place on Saturday, October 10, 10 days after Trump was diagnosed with coronavirus, a White House doctor said. Given that Trump has been given supplemental oxygen and drugs like dexamethasone, which are generally reserved for more severe cases, some people are skeptical about whether or not this is in isolation enough time.
We are still learning exactly how long someone is contagious with COVID-19. In general, experts believe that people are most contagious at the onset of their illness, when their symptoms first appear, explains Harvard Health. This is especially true if your symptoms include coughing and sneezing, as these behaviors actively spread the breath droplets that contain the virus. But people with no apparent symptoms can also spread the virus.
However, the rules are a little different when you have a confirmed case of the virus. In this scenario, you would need to isolate yourself from others to prevent the disease from spreading. This means avoiding other people and avoiding sharing a bathroom with others as much as possible.
Most people who get a positive coronavirus test and develop symptoms can stop isolation after 10 days of their symptoms onset – as long as they haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours and their other symptoms improve, according to the CDC. An important note: the fever must have gone by itself without antipyretic medication. The White House doctor’s note made no mention of whether or not Trump specifically has a fever, but said the president responded “very well” and “remained stable” to the treatment.
Although the CDC previously recommended that people with symptoms wait to get a negative COVID-19 test before going back around, it is no longer recommended in most cases as of July. Those who never develop symptoms can stop isolation 10 days after their first positive COVID-19 PCR test.
People who have had a more severe case of COVID-19, or are severely immunocompromised from a health condition or from medication, may have to wait longer before being with other people, according to the CDC. They may need to keep isolating for up to 20 days after their symptoms onset, as some people with more severe cases can produce virus particles that can replicate after the usual 10 days, according to the CDC.
Even after 20 days, these patients may need additional coronavirus tests to confirm that it is safe for them to be with others before ending their isolation. In these cases, doctors generally consult infectious disease experts to determine the correct course of action for each patient.
However, this timing is no substitute for social distancing, wearing a mask, avoiding the crowds, and frequent hand washing to avoid the spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, the President should maintain these basic public health behaviors – especially at major events, which experts continue to recommend and which we are currently avoiding.