What is the probability that you were exposed to COVID and just didn’t get sick?


Is it possible that you had an asymptomatic COVID infection and didn't know it? This is the idea of ​​an expert.  (Photo: People Images via Getty Images)

Is it possible that you had an asymptomatic COVID infection and didn’t know it? This is the idea of ​​an expert. (Photo: People Images via Getty Images)

If you have been fully vaccinated and have lived on the go, you may be curious if you have ever been exposed to the coronavirus. Can you be one of the lucky people with an asymptomatic infection? Or is it still possible that you haven’t encountered the virus yet?

Delta variant wherever, And it is spreading much faster than previous variants. Many people infected with Delta are highly contagious and Viral load It is hundreds of times larger than the original strain. Therefore, if you go to a place like a restaurant or gym with lots of strangers, it seems inevitable that you will be exposed at some point.

“It’s really contagious, so I think it could be high, depending on the infection rate of the community in your area — if you have a significant or high infection rate in your area. CDC definition — That means you may have been exposed. ” Monica Gandhi, An infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Jennifer NuzzoEpidemiologists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said it was important to distinguish between exposure and infection. Being exposed or in the presence of the virus does not necessarily mean that you will be infected or develop a symptomatic illness (although, regardless of vaccination status, it definitely does. Some people become).

According to Gandhi, Delta is so contagious that if you’re out in a vast area and don’t wear a mask or social distance, you can definitely get infected. As the case rate increases, so does the probability of contact with the virus.

It is quite possible that many of us have been around the virus so far, but whether the exposure caused the infection depends on several factors, Nuzzo said.

The first consideration is how close you were to the infected person who was shedding the virus. The second is how much virus the person was emitting. Some people spread much more virus than others. The third is what the ventilation was like. When exposed to a poorly ventilated room, the virus is more likely to invade cells. The way the host, or your body, handles the virus also plays a role.

Infection is different from exposure. Whether exposure leads to infection depends on many factors, including the degree of ventilation of the space.  & # Xa0; (Photo: Atlantide Phototravel via Getty Images)

Infection is different from exposure. Whether exposure leads to infection depends on many factors, including the degree of ventilation of the space. (Photo: Atlantide Phototravel via Getty Images)

Do you know if you were exposed?

it depends. Many vaccinated people who have been exposed will probably not be aware of it. They may have produced an immune response that successfully repels the virus before it causes symptomatic disease. After all, that is the goal of the vaccine.

You are Might be so You can sense the activation of your immune system. Upon close exposure, Memory B cells begin to rattle and produce antibodies, Gandhi explains, and T cells prepare to fight. Some people may be able to feel that immune response, which may be similar to some side effects experienced after vaccination, as it was a sign that your immune system was revived. ..

“In today’s situation where we are all overly alert to our symptoms, people can be depressed and tired,” Gandhi said.

Does exposure to COVID mean that you are better protected?

This is complicated. A few research It suggests that exposure to the infectious dose of SARS-CoV-2 enhances the immune response.

“There is known evidence that exposure to infection after vaccination enhances the immune response, which causes your memory B cells to produce antibodies and replicate your T cells,” says Gandhi. I did. (Them New antibody By the way, what is produced by B cells targets the new mutants it sees. )

More data is definitely needed on how exposure affects immunological memory.British scientists are doing Challenge trial, They expose young and healthy adults to coronavirus and better understand the doses that cause infection and how the immune system of different people responds to viral exposure.

But this is is not it It means that you want to get infected or get sick. There really isn’t a good way to predict if you will get sick, how long you will get sick, and if you get sick, you will have long-distance symptoms.

This is especially true if you do not have innate immunity from your previous infection and have not been vaccinated. “The good thing about vaccination is that you’re much less likely to get sick, [exposure] It stimulates the immune response, “Gandhi said.

Remember: Shots prevent illness, not infection.

“If you’re infected with the virus in a good way, you’re more likely to get it,” says Nuzzo. She added that the vaccine wants to prevent people from getting serious illness. It can also prevent people from getting sick in some cases.

A growing consensus among infectious disease professionals is that we will all meet COVID someday. Delta has changed the game because it is contagious in itself — COVID is becoming endemic.

“I don’t think we’re going to eliminate it,” Gandhi said. “That means, to me, it’s likely that all of us will be exposed at some point.”

Also, if you are infected with COVID, it is best to have some immunity. Get those vaccines.

Experts are still learning about COVID-19. The information in this story is known or available at the time of publication, but guidance can change as scientists discover more about the virus.please Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention For the latest recommendations.

This article was originally published HuffPost Was updated.

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