The dominant variant currently has a shorter incubation period – meaning if you go to a crowded bar on a Friday night and don’t have symptoms by Monday, you’re unlikely to have the virus , said Dr. Chin-Hong. If you still don’t have symptoms by Wednesday, you’re probably safe, he said, although you should get tested to confirm.
However, it is still possible to have an asymptomatic case of Covid – and as more people develop immunity to the virus through vaccination and previous infection, asymptomatic or very mild cases will be more common. , said Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and senior researcher and public health editor at Kaiser Health News. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still spread the virus, she said, which makes it important to get tested just before gathering with a vulnerable person.
“If you’re going to sit down with Grandma for Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll test right before,” she said.
If you feel sick, stay home, even if you test negative on a rapid test. “Anyone who isn’t feeling well should stay home,” Dr Ratner said, “because the tests aren’t perfect.”
The question is not whether or not to test before a family reunion; it’s when to test, and how often.
Experts differ on exactly when and what combination of tests you should perform, but for the most accurate measure of whether or not you are contagious before an event, perform a rapid home test just before. “You can just have a little test party outside, where everyone says, ‘OK, now we’re fine, we’re negative, we can come in and see mum,'” disease specialist Stuart Ray said. infections at Johns Hopkins. University School of Medicine. You should also take a rapid test the day before, he advised.
“Rapid tests are very good, but they’re not perfect,” Dr. Pritchett said. PCR tests are more sensitive, but it can take several days to get the results, she said, and so a five-day snapshot of your infection status won’t be helpful in determining whether you’re contagious for the virus. moment. If you can get a quick PCR, it can boost your confidence that you are negative; if not, do at least two rapid tests, 12 to 24 hours apart. (If you’ve had Covid in the past two to three months, however, PCRs can stay positive past the point at which you’re contagious, Dr. Ratner said, so you should rely on rapid tests.)
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