Are Long COVID Sufferers Contagious & Test Positive?
Many are wondering if they are contagious while suffering from Long COVID?
It is a valid concern. Something is going on in your body and causing symptoms. One of the theories is that SARS-CoV-2 is still living in your body, evading your immune system and causing problems as they move around.
So you would be right to question if Long COVID sufferers are infectious.
Many have looked to answer the question with COVID-19 data... how long are you contagious with the disease?
Even that question is difficult to answer. Some answer that question with PCR results...
Dr Shawn Ferullo, MIT Medical’s chief of student health, said,
I’ve heard of people testing positive up to 37 days after their symptoms had completely disappeared. The test is extremely sensitive, so these are ‘true positives’ in the sense that the test truly is detecting genetic material from the virus, but the question is whether or not it is infectious viral material. Most of us now believe these individuals are not infectious, even though they continue to test positive.
In fact, someone tested positive with a PCR test 83 days after an initial test.
I'll remind you that a PCR cannot diagnose a disease. Instead, they find fragments of the virus and amplify it 35 times to show that something is there. That doesn't mean the virus is alive and replicating.
In the beginning, we were fearful of people spreading COVID because the virus has a long incubation time. Experts believed you could be contagious before developing symptoms. That didn't turn out to be true.
Now, the general consensus is you could be contagious for the first 7 to 10 days after developing symptoms. That is due to a research review and scientists attempting to culture viruses collected from people’s noses and throats. After day nine, it became unlikely for SARS-CoV-2 to replicate.
Actually, the chances of a person being infectious are 1 in 5. Those people, the 20%, are known as superspreaders. You'll have heard of a superspreader event. This is where a superspreader contaminates a crowd of people. That person is releasing large amounts of the virus into the atmosphere where people breathe it in. Then people that are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 can become infected.[3,4]
Therefore, if you are suffering from Long COVID and have the virus in your body, it wouldn't make sense for you to be contagious. You are well past the infectious stage, and your body is doing its best to keep all viruses in your virome under control. The only reasonable possibility for you to become contagious is if you become reinfected.