#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: How Can Someone Test Negative And Then, Positive Afterwards?

Q: Learnt those who are negative later tested positive. Please how is this possible? Can someone have this virus and not show symptoms? Thanks

If someone tested negative and had never tested positive, the simple explanation can be that he became infected in the period after the previous test was done. It is important that we all understand that a negative result for someone who has never been infected does not mean a negative result forever. If the person does not keep to social distancing and hygiene rules described below, the person is likely to get infected at some point

If this question, however, refers to someone who had been infected, treated and then tested negative, becoming positive again, the response I gave to a similar question earlier this week,

We have seen some news coming out of China that suggest that some people who had tested negative to the virus, soon afterwards, tested positive again. And so the concern is, ‘does this mean a reinfection?’ or perhaps ‘the patient never really fully recovered from the initial infection?’ Or ‘maybe it’s the residual RNA (genetic material) from the virus?’ We don’t fully have the answers to this now – knowledge on COVID-19 keeps evolving.

What we do know is that with the other coronaviruses, the antibodies that patients produce during the infection confers some immunity for that specific virus which can last for months or even years

What is important for everyone to know for now is that nothing should give you a false sense of security – not masks, not the fact that you were infected and are now negative or that you feel your immune system is up to the task. Everyone should focus on doing the right things

  1. Stay home
  2. If you must go out, wear a face mask and practice social distancing. On wearing a mask, as I said before, new things keep coming to light about this virus and now there are concerns that it could be spread by even people who are not showing symptoms by just breathing or talking. So, protect yourself, you or the person you’re talking to could be asymptomatic (not showing symptoms). Use a cloth mask so we can save the hospital grade masks for the frontline medical staff who really need them
  3. Wash your hands often with water and soap. Washing under running water is ideal. If you don’t have running water, have someone pour water over your hands. Do this for at least 20 seconds
  4. For those times that you are not able to wash your hands, please use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Rub all over your hands in much the same way as when you’re washing your hands and rub until dry
  5. If you need to cough or sneeze, do that into the crook of your elbow. If you sneeze or cough into a tissue, dispose of it immediately in a trash can/dustbin and wash your hands immediately. Remember that if you’re wearing an outfit that overs your elbow, you’ve deposited some germs there and it’s a great idea to wash these clothes at the end of the day. And take a bath!

I hope y”all are keeping safe

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