Could you still have Covid-19 if you have symptoms but test negative?


It has been in excess of 3 a long time because Covid-19 scenarios were being very first identified in the United States. And while President Joe Biden declared past 7 days that he intends to conclusion the condition of nationwide emergency about Covid-19, this does not necessarily mean the pandemic is around.

Despite the fact that substantially is now acknowledged about this coronavirus, a lot of thoughts continue to be, particularly as the virus continues to evolve and infect people on a big scale. There were being a lot more than 280,000 new coronavirus situations diagnosed in the very last 7 days, in accordance to the US Centers for Disorder Handle and Prevention. This is almost undoubtedly an undercount, given the numerous residence tests not included as portion of the official tally.

A frequent concern from CNN visitors and viewers is what it signifies if someone has Covid-19 signs but exams negative for the virus, specially if they have been uncovered. Why does that come about? Ought to they test yet again and when? Are there other exams they should get, which includes for other viruses? How can anyone come across out if they’ve now experienced Covid-19?

To enable us with these questions, I spoke with CNN professional medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an unexpected emergency medical doctor and professor of well being policy and administration at the George Washington University Milken Institute Faculty of General public Overall health. She is also the writer of “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for General public Health and fitness.”

CNN: Many people today consider they have signs or symptoms of Covid-19 but are screening destructive. Why does that happen?

Dr. Leana Wen: There are various choices. First, Covid-19 generally provides like other viral illnesses. Frequent signs include a fever, cough, runny nose, headache or physique aches, a sore throat and diarrhea. These are types of signs or symptoms also seen with other viral sicknesses, which include influenza and adenovirus. It is possible you may perhaps have signs and symptoms you’re determining as proof of a Covid-19 infection that are basically due to a further virus.

It's possible to get a false negative with home antigen tests, which are less accurate than PCR tests, Wen said.

Next, you may perhaps be testing far too shortly after being contaminated with Covid there may well not be more than enough virus existing to trigger a good consequence. Normally, it will take at minimum two days right after publicity to build indications and/or to have a constructive consequence. Many moments, even though, there isn’t ample virus to trigger a good examination until eventually at minimum five times following publicity. This is why recurring screening is important, especially if you are using house swift antigen assessments.

3rd, the test may perhaps be a false negative. Home antigen exams are significantly less precise than PCR assessments. If you have a large probability of contracting Covid-19 — for case in point, if you have been uncovered to anyone who had the coronavirus and now you have indications, but you’re even now testing detrimental from a property check — you may perhaps wish to get a PCR take a look at.

CNN: If someone were exposed to a different person who has Covid-19, when should they get examined, and with what examination?

Wen: If you ended up uncovered to an individual with Covid-19, you should really hold out till it’s been at the very least five times following publicity to get analyzed, according to the CDC. Both an antigen examination or a PCR take a look at could be utilized at this place. But simply because it is still attainable to acquire symptoms following five times, the CDC endorses you have on a mask when in public indoor destinations for a full of 10 days. You should also monitor your signs and symptoms if you create any, even immediately after five times following a probable exposure, you should really get analyzed all over again.

CNN: What if you’ve had immediate publicity — for illustration, from a partner who has Covid-19 — and have signs, but nonetheless get a damaging check following five times?

Wen: If you took a rapid antigen test, I’d endorse having one more one the following day. It’s doable your viral load was not significant adequate the first time close to. (This is also the assistance advised by the U.S. Food stuff and Drug Administration.)

If the repeat take a look at is even now negative, and it’s essential for you to uncover out regardless of whether you have Covid-19, you could go consider a PCR check. The PCR examination is a lot more correct, nevertheless the caveat is that it picks up viral remnants. That indicates if it’s optimistic, it could suggest you not long ago recovered from Covid-19.

If all these checks are damaging, a further possibility is that you have a diverse viral ailment, and ought to still keep on to dress in a mask in public right until 10 days following your publicity. Also, be thorough close to susceptible people when you are symptomatic, even if it’s not from Covid-19. If you have a trip to a nursing house planned to go to your aged aunt, for case in point, or you are scheduling to host supper with an immunocompromised visitor, you must postpone right until your indicators are absent and your 10-day quarantine period has completed.

CNN: If your Covid-19 take a look at is unfavorable, need to you get examined for other viruses?

Wen: It is dependent. If you are a frequently healthier human being and have gentle signs or symptoms, screening is likely not necessary. You should use symptomatic administration, this means to drink tons of fluids, relaxation and just take more than-the-counter analgesics like acetaminophen or ibuprofen as essential.

If you have fundamental clinical ailments, you could possibly be specially anxious about influenza. There are antiviral solutions readily available, and you ought to think about talking with your medical doctor about flu tests and if you are suitable for them.

Some physicians’ techniques are now routinely tests for Covid-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). When in doubt, speak with your health practitioner. And make guaranteed to connect with your health practitioner if you build worsening or specifically regarding signs and symptoms, these types of as shortness of breath, upper body ache or an inability to maintain down fluids.

CNN: How can another person find out if they’ve presently had Covid-19?

Wen: There is an antibody blood test to the SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid out there from business laboratories like Quest Diagnostics and Labcorp. This precisely looks for prior infection.

If it comes again favourable, it signifies that you had Covid-19 at some point. It does not inform you when. So if you want to come across out if a particular bout of recent signs and symptoms was from the coronavirus, this test wouldn’t aid. And keep in mind, getting had Covid-19 in the past doesn’t indicate that you just cannot get ill from it all over again.