Here's how long people with COVID-19 may remain contagious, according to the best available data
Added 01-22-22 02:14:02pm EST - “After five days of symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, about 31% of people are still contagious. After 10 days, 5% are infectious, UKHSA data shows.” - Businessinsider.com
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It's a critical question that has played on the minds of individuals with COVID-19 who want to see friends and relatives again: how long should I isolate for to make sure I'm not contagious?
In the US, government rules allow most people to end isolation after five days without having to take a test; that contrasts with the UK, where Brits with COVID-19 can exit at day six but only after testing negative for the last two days of isolation and without a fever. Without a test, they have to wait ten full days.
Policymakers have to strike the balance between limiting the advance of the pandemic, while preventing the economy from grinding to a halt. President Biden's chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said December 28 that US COVID-19 isolation guidelines were designed to "get people back to jobs."
But some disease experts in both the UK and US have warned that isolation guidance doesn't follow science and risks people inadvertently spreading the virus at work or school, especially if they haven't taken a test.
Robert Wachter, a professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco said on Twitter January 14, that his son's rapid test was positive at Day 10. "If we hadn't tested, he'd be on his third day of work," he said.
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