covid-19 recover how long

This is how long it actually takes to recover from COVID-19

Andile Sicetsha - 21.07.2021

Recovering from COVID-19 and being deemed ready for de-isolation are not the same, the NICD says.

Information overload has been the order of the COVID-19 era.

More than anything, this past year has desensitised humans to the egregious nature of this deadly pathogen. However in all the doom and gloom, a ray of hope that strengthens humanity’s will to overcome this war are the monumental strides made in the development of vaccines.

In no historical period has there ever been a viral vaccine developed this quick. This unprecedented feat has almost, quit ironically, played a role in hesitancy towards COVID-19 vaccines.

At this juncture, there are two types of people in the world: Those who are ‘vaxxed’ and those who will, over time, build resilience through herd immunity.

However, it is important to note, COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. The virus and its mutations are still transmissible, even if you are vaccinated albeit those with a jab get advanced protection against severe illness and death.

So, if you contract COVID-19 in this phase of the pandemic, how long will it take to recover? The answer, according to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), can be estimated.

How long does it take to recover from COVID-19?

The South African disease research facility asserts that there is a clear difference between “being fully recovered and being ready to come out of isolation.”

Full recovery from COVID-19 can take up to six weeks and much longer in severe cases. However, based on the degree of the infection, people can de-isolate in as much as 10 days after testing positive.

Recovery paths for three types of COVID-19 patients

Symptomatic infection

Symptomatic patients, according to the NICD, usually recover from mild symptoms in 10 days. Usually, a good sign to look out for is a resolved fever and noted improvement in other symptoms.

Severe infection

Patients who are hospitalised are likely to undergo longer period of isolation. In this situation, severe patients are often released into a de-isolated environment “10 days after achievement of clinical stability (i.e. from when they are not requiring supplemental oxygen and are otherwise clinically stable).”

Asymptomatic infection

Patients who test positive for COVID-19 but don’t harbour any visible symptoms can also be de-isolated 10 days after receiving their results.

Here is an important notice. Symptomatic and severe COVID-19 patients are not required to take another polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before they are de-isolated.

This, however, can not be said for asymptomatic patients.

“If a person remains asymptomatic in quarantine after a high-risk exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case, a PCR test should be done when assessing the employee for early return to work on day eight post-exposure,” the NICD says

Recovering from COVID-19 varies from patient-to-patient. The general trend that’s been observed, however, suggests that patients with moderate-to-severe symptoms can be de-isolated 10 days after their confirmed date of infection.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has fully recovered from the virus. It just states that at that point in his/her recovery, the patient is no longer deemed to be infectious.

The NICD warns that it is still normal for some patients to experience longer periods of recovery.

“Full recovery may take several weeks for some patients, especially for symptoms such as fatigue, cough and anosmia (loss of sense of smell).”