Since March, there have been many conflicting reports, as well as actual studies, on how COVID-19 is transmitted, who is at greatest risk, and how the virus is transmitted. The length of time a patient is considered infectious has been the subject of ever-changing intel, as well. At one point, 6 days was thought to be the window; then it was 10, and then 14 days. Now the Journal of Infection has published a paper suggesting that a patient with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 is probably infectious for 10 days after onset of symptoms after all. Patients with severe disease may shed the virus longer, however. The researchers reached their conclusions after reviewing 13 virus culture studies and two contact-tracing studies conducted in 11 countries between January 1, 2020, and August 26, 2020. It’s essential to inform patients with COVID-19, those awaiting test results, and those who have been in contact with an infected person of this new development. Be prepared for pushback, as some patients take the ever-evolving “story” of the pandemic to mean that public health experts are not trustworthy on this subject. Explain that as the pandemic stretches on richer data continue to become available, and researchers are able to make better recommendations, with greater confidence, than they could early on.
Another Study Moves the Timeline on How Long A COVID-19 Patient Is Infectious