For COVID-19, the time from the start of the infection to the start of the symptoms is about 5 days (though it can range between 2-14 days). This is called the incubation period. Overall, it looks like 80% of people with COVID-19 will have a mild infection or no symptoms at all, 15% will develop more serious disease, and 5% may require critical care. Researchers from Singapore reported that this period of infection in people with symptoms may begin 2 days before the start of symptoms. It can last for about 7-10 days after symptoms start. Although tests can pick up little pieces of the virus for many days or weeks after a COVID-19 infection, enough virus to cause an infection in someone else is not found after the second week of illness. Going forward, resources should focus on testing people with symptoms and suspected COVID-19 to allow quicker public health response and containment (isolation).
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