How long does it take to recover from COVID-19?
Since India recorded its first COVID-19 case in January, the coronavirus outbreak has proven itself to be quite the menace. As per the latest official figures, India has reported roughly 53,000 cases of COVID-19 with nearly 1,800 deaths. However, around 29% of patients have also recovered from the illness, which could take anywhere between days to months, depending on the severity of the infection.
Mild cases of COVID-19 are those that experience symptoms such as fever, cough, breathing difficulties, sore throat, loss of taste/smell, etc. Some of these cases may not even experience any symptoms for up to 14 days of coming in contact with the virus. These patients can expect to recover within 14 days from the day symptoms appear. However, symptoms such as cough may persist.
Severe cases are those that involve pneumonia, multiple organ failure, etc., and are usually caused by an overactive immune response. These cases may experience trouble breathing or lung-related problems and hence require hospitalization to receive oxygen therapy or ventilator support. BBC reported that it could take 12-18 months to fully recover after receiving critical care, due to muscular atrophy from lying on hospital beds.
For such cases, symptoms like fatigue may persist long after recovery/being discharged, BBC reported. Patients may even experience shortness of breath after exertion, persistent coughing, needing a lot of sleep, along with psychological effects such as PTSD.
In India, COVID-19 patients are discharged after clinical clearance, chest radiograph clearance, and two samples test negative for the disease. The first such sample is taken 14 days after the patient first tested positive and the second is collected 24 hours later. However, for asymptomatic cases, identifying signs of recovery may be tricky. Usually, the patients recover two weeks after the onset of symptoms.
It is advisable for people to remain vigilant even after patients seem to recover. According to the United States CDC, "Symptoms cannot be used to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness." Further, there is no evidence to suggest that patients develop immunity against COVID-19 post-recovery, so it's best to continue following all health precautions regardless to avoid possible re-infection.