Are You Safe 14 Days Without Symptoms After a COVID-19 Exposure?

The latest information on incubation periods for coronavirus COVID 19 are a range of 2 to 14 days for 99% of cases. Usually no symptoms occur until 2.5 days after infection.

You have a 1% chance of still developing coronavirus after 14 days without symptoms and about a 0.01% chance of developing serious coronavirus after 14 days. However, there is the 1% chance that you do have it and would still be contagious to other people. Definitely avoid getting within ten feet of anyone over 70. The elderly just need to have only essential visits.

We have to assume that 1% or more of the people walking around North America or anywhere in the world has an infection.
* everyone has to clean hands every hour
* minimize contact within 6 feet in general.
* try to stay in separate rooms in a house as much as possible
* clean door knobs, railings, light switches phones
* avoid sharing cups, bowls etc… that are not thoroughly washed.

The median incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days (95% CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days), and 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) of infection.

These estimates imply that, under conservative assumptions, 101 out of every 10 000 cases (99th percentile, 482) will develop symptoms after 14 days of active monitoring or quarantine.

Looking only who gets very sick with coronavirus, then using exposures designated as high risk and a 7-day monitoring period, the estimate for missed (serious) cases was 21.2 per 10,000. After 14 days, the estimated number of missed high-risk cases was 1 per 10,000 patients.

SOURCES – CDC Self-isolation, Annals of Internal Medicine – The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application March 10, 2020,
Written By Brian Wang,

34 thoughts on “Are You Safe 14 Days Without Symptoms After a COVID-19 Exposure?”

  1. I doubt it. Hospitals already run at close to max capacity. Not like there are lots of empty beds lying around. In the U.S. there were 1.5m hospital beds in 1975, today that number is about 900,000, and the population is significantly larger. the “occupancy” rate is about 78%, which is close to max. You can’t run a system at 100% or you will risk jeopardizing the patient.

    It means the hospitals are hugely strained now, and during this crises. Then when things get more normal it all starts up again. But now with “battle fatigue” AND a backlog of patients (e.g., with cancer) who need treatment as well. Building more hospitals won’t work, there aren’t the staff to handle it.

  2. Same way you enforce any other patent.
    If someone is doing it in a large, commercial and/or public way you set your lawyers on them. If they are doing it on the sly and you don’t know about it, who cares?

  3. But in a rebound scenario your Health facilities, hopefully, are not overburdened. Less will die.

  4. I think you are mixing up quinine with chloroquine phosphate. The former is unrefined and not very potent, the latter might actually help. But the side effects are substantial. I’ve been there, done that. There are also a LOT of interactions with other meds that could kill you.

    So go ahead and advise people on stuff that you aren’t aware of. Do yourself a favor and read up on it at the very least.

  5. Advocate for killing the elderly and weak. Good to know. 16% of Americans are over 65. The mortality rate for >80 is 15%. Shall I help you with math?

  6. Doubt it. Chloroquine is generic and it would have to be a very different molecule or delivery mechanism (e.g., nanoprobe, targetted release). Also there would be enormous pressure on any company to open the patent, and if the company resisted I bet that a competing company in another country will have their government approval to “steal” the formula.

  7. Nope. “regular” quinine is not concentrated enough, or pure enough and has huge side effects. You need medical-grade chloroquine phosphate. Luckily, that has never had a patent, much like the polio vaccine (though Salk had the patent he opened it).

    Chloroquine is cheap to make and hugely abundant. I’ve had malaria twice while taking chloroquine and I got the type that Chloroquine doesn’t help to prevent, it is not used that much anymore. It’s a prophylactic, and seems to show some promise for Covid19. If it is the way to go for many (not for all), ramping up production is really easy and cheap.

  8. no it doesn’t help that much, not for the people most susceptible. Sure, washing etc all helps to lower the potential spread. But only very slightly as humans are not that disciplined. We touch our faces and we congregate with others.

    The mortality risk is highly skewed and asymmetric. To be effective you need to completely and totally isolate everyone over 70 years old and those who are susceptible (eg every cancer patient). And not just for 3 weeks. For months or more. A rebound will kill them just the same. And to prevent a rebound, everyone else needs to be locked down. Eventually, the many may become immune, but still carriers for the large minority who are at risk.

  9. yes and no. A sharp reduction can be achieved quickly, yes. But, a rebound is inevitable because you can’t eradicate this virus. So then the question is how fast and exponential would a rebound be? Take Italy. Let’s say that as of TODAY the crises is over in Italy, 35,000 were infected, no new cases. ALL infected are closed up, they are not allowed to re-enter society. Cafes etc open up. According to the >20 day rule, there would be about 350 people infected 3 weeks from now (assuming there is at least one person in the country who is asymptomatic infected) . 3 weeks after that, assuming Italy follows the same protocols and process, another 35,000 cases. That is the law of exponents and that is why this problem is not going away anytime soon.
    You can postpose this “6 weeks to get back to the problem” by semi-opening society, by big changes in societal habit, staging work returns, and instituting immediate lockdowns in areas that start showing spread.

    We are in a permanent and semi-permanent state of lock-down/open/lock down/distancing until one of two things: most those who can die from this die, and/or a drug treatment is available.

  10. yes, for most. And that is the issue. The few (10-15% or so) who can’t fight it, just can’t. They are on a battlefield weaponless. So for the sake of these few we need to prevent them from getting sick, and do what it takes to help them recover. It may even be “their fault” (smokers, poor hygiene, other bad habits) for some of them, but we can’t discriminate.

  11. nice try. Get ready to obliterate your liver. a typical high ball without ice has about 11.6mg of quinine, give or take. You need about 1,000mg of chloroquine phosphate per day for 10 days to be effective apparently, (for some patients, not all). Then you have this to deal with too.

    This said, I admire your efforts to make a solid contribution to science.

  12. My concern with this paper (although it looks good) is that its from the Wuhan Institute of Virology…

  13. Keep making that shit up. Everyone is home while I’m at the office and I’m the opposite of people panicking and buying a month ahead, evne though I was first to tell colleagues they underestimated how fast this would spread.

    Goatguy is close enough to boomers’ age that you can’t just pretend you didn’t just insult him with your casual insult.

    You can’t just type crap and then pretend it don’t smell. And to think you had to worm around and switch subjects and insults rather than admit this:
    << believers don’t get caught in these thought loops. >>
    is just empty conversation-making nonsense.

  14. I think much of this is political calculation. If the gov does nothing, they are to blame. But, if it appears as though we tried…maybe we can get some points and get re-elected. This is pretty much the playbook since Katrina and LA Superdome. Somehow the POTUS is responsible for EVERYTHING. It would be interesting to see how this played out in an alternate universe where there is no Presidential election on the horizon.

  15. Now is the time to check on grandma’s will. If you’re in it and need the money….cough…cough…cough. Excuse me grandma, I didn’t mean to get that in your face.

  16. Wow, ageism, what a surprise. Not at all like the rest of your usual bigotry. What about Goat Guy?

    Never mind the fact I’m not even close to being a boomer.

  17. Actually, I grew up half time with a religious family. I saw friends grow up full time in religious families. I grew up many years in a very socialist country. My father worked and lived for a while in CCCP.

    I could go on. Take your single data point …
    << believers don’t get caught in these thought loops. >>
    and put it back where it belongs elsewhere than in extrapolation.

  18. << believers don’t get caught in these thought loops. >>
    What religious echo chamber did you grow up in.

  19. Maybe when there’s an article on topic there can be some useful debate about that ‘special’ someone.

  20. I prefer the spirit-lifting and antiseptic properties of the Gin part, myself. Let’s compromise. Gin AND tonic. And a lime, for scurvy mitigation while the ice is in the shaker. And — my personal preference — a solid dash of bitters.  

    (Goat roots around, finds the shaker, ice, a good gin, tonic. Noise of shaking in the background.  Bubble… fizz… clink… slurp… mmmmmmm)

    Ype, I cna tell its wroking!
    Capital, my byo!

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  21. Can you point to these reported successes? As expected an internet search results in pages after pages of irrelevant nonsense.

  22. Not exactly sure what “yoga pants” are, so I duckduck some images…
    Turns out that’s what I’m wearing right now.

    In the vernacular of my time and place we call them trackydaks.

  23. Twoo… twoo… twoo…  its all about fecundity and propensity to propagate. Thwart propagation paths (washing, sneeze abatement, white cloth gloves in public), and that takes a big bite out of it.  Public policy compresses fecundity too.  We agree, it seems. Someone send up a flare. ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  24. Yes. As I’ve said to most-everyone who’d listen to me longer than it takes to quaff a bottle of decent red plonk, Church-going has its sociological advantages.  

    First, you’ve got a preacher up there that HAS to find a middle ground … to keep the flock. And she has to be CURRENT, reflecting on the shît-storm of the week, as well as life in general. Philosophizing. (S)he has to be endlessly positive, and bring a positive godly spin to the dark forces of hubris and misanthropy. He/she must read and re-read pertinent scripture that underscores The Point Of It All.  

    And at least if you’re Christian, one’s preacher is in the anointed business of FORGIVING one’s own personal shortcomings. It is powerful stuff, forgiveness. It is powerful stuff especially in the context that one CAN CHANGE for the better.  

    Supposing that none of the above actually works-and-takes-hold of most parishioners, then there’s the novel idea that just ‘sitting, standing, singing, kneeling, and reciting memorized rote’ for an hour-a-week will also have a kind of subtle meditative effect. 

    Yoga pants not needed.
    Tho’ they are awfully cute.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  25. Yah… I know. (re: nearly irrational reactions by government).

    I could play the FUD card, and advise people to do far, far more than “official doctrine” at self-quarantine and keeping away from friends, neighbors and family members. This AMPLIFIES the problem. 

    I could cite “fake news” as the sociological ‘disease’ of our time: billions of endlessly forwarded messages, tripe, fiction and hyperbole. For 3 years, we listened to media’s broken-record needle repeating … you choose the narrative: Russia! Russia! Russia!, … ‘Impeachment!’… “unsuited for office!”, … “anti-Scientific denier!” … “orange-man-bad”.  

    All of it rotting pork tripe. 
    Endlessly and breathlessly repeated, amplified, repackaged and re-spun to look real.  
    Nearly all fake.

    Now, combine that with everyone-under–60 not having lived thru a significant pandemic, and everyone-over–40 actually believing the hubris … and you have ‘where we are’. 

    There is no ready solution: it would take an America-or-Germany-of-Olde change in nominal expectations for how we raise our youth to prevent in the future what is happening here, now, today.

    You know … like enforcing that almost all kids get out in nature, play in dirt, with bugs, getting stung, sunburned, falling out of trees. Enforcing that kids study the History of Stupid Societal Reactions. Requiring media prove their tripe, or be SUED for ‘calling fire in a crowded theater’. 

    These, and more.
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  26. The 95% confidence interval of 5 to 7 days … and the reality-on-ground is that the rate-of-apparent-infection depends on quite a few factors … some affected by the distancing-and-sort-of-quarantine policies now in place, and others about general health, susceptibility, age, and INITIAL QUANTITY of viruses ingested/inhaled by the individual.  

    So, ‘most people’ will show — if they’re going to show at all — in 5–7 days. 70%.  Some people, out to 10 days. 25%  A few, to 14. 3.5%  Almost none, out to 20 days. 1% or less.

    That demystifies it, see?

    70% before 7 days.
    25% more before 10 days.
    3.5% more before 14 days.
    1.4% after that, out to 20 days.
    0.1% remaining. 

    This in turn shows the kind of “quarantine policy” that is effective. 7 days, not really enough. SLOWING the person-to-person transmission by (100 – 70) = 30%. But quarantine out to 14 days … leaves (100% – 70% – 25% – 3.5%) = 1.5% not caught.  

    That’s a 70-to–1 reduction. 
    That’s good.
    Good enough.

    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

  27. There is no way or strive for hermetic control. Possibly one in every 1000 people still will be sick even after 21 days of quarantine. That does not mean that the quarantine period should be increased. The focus should be on taking different steps that altogether will bring the infection rate as below one as one at a minimal cost.

    There are no recommendations made for increasing immunity which should be at the core of prevention like getting exposed to sunlight, walking, getting enough sleep and avoiding processed sugars although they can decrease the chances of getting infected significantly.

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