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I Don't Want to Give COVID-19 to My Parents



"I was one of the unlucky ones who came down with COVID-19. After weeks of recovery, I am now resuming my old activities. My parents are in their 80s, and I’m wondering if it’s safe for me to go visit now.  It has been two weeks since I was sick. Should I be tested again? Your thoughts?"



I’m sorry to hear that you were ill but glad you’re on the mend. COVID can have a very serious impact on the body, so it’s good that you are recovering. 

If you had a mild case of COVID-19, and it’s been 10 days since your first onset of symptoms, you should no longer be contagious. If your case was more severe, you should wait 20 days before you’re in contact with anyone else.

This is according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). They believe that after 10 days for mild cases and 20 days for those who are severely ill OR those with weakened immune systems, you no longer shed the virus.

The logic here is this: when the virus enters your body, you become its host, and feed it. Your body then sheds the virus intact, and it’s most contagious the two days prior to your onset of symptoms. Around this time, your antibodies mount a response, working to deactivate the virus. Your antibodies combined with the virus make the virus less potent each day that you are sick. By day 10 or 20, the virus is no longer potent enough to infect another person. 

It is possible for you to test positive for a time after you have had COVID because you’ll still be shedding the virus for a bit, even in less potent quantities. But again, after day 10 for a mild case or day 20 for a severe case, you should no longer be contagious.

To be very, very cautious, wait until day 20 before visiting mom and dad. 

Don’t feel confident that you cannot get COVID again though. COVID is a coronavirus, the same type of virus from which the common cold stems. It is not yet known if you can get it again, so your best bet is to assume that you could. Therefore, when it comes to prevention, act as though you never had it. Always, always stay six feet from others and wear a mask. 

I wish you well. Continue to be safe out there.