Here’s what the experts say you should know.
I tested positive, but I’m fine. Do I still need to insulate?
“They base these guidelines on now, two years of observations on what it means to be contagious,” Snyder said.
The CDC guidelines changed in the last days of December. It now says that people who test positive for Covid-19 should isolate themselves for five days. Then, if they have no symptoms, or if their symptoms disappear – they are without fever for 24 hours without taking antipyretic medication – they should follow it with five days with mask around others. The CDC says it is optional to take an antigen test on day 5; if it is positive, stay in isolation until day 10.
This should minimize the risk of spreading the virus. The likelihood of someone being contagious after 10 days is small if their symptoms have improved and their fever is gone, experts say.
If you and the people around you wear masks, you take the precautions that are appropriate regardless, he said.
“You do not know who in your universe is contagious,” Cohen said. Just because someone had Covid five days ago does not mean they should be considered more dangerous. “What about the guy next to you who was never tested, who is asymptomatic and has more copies than I do? We should behave as if we assume everyone has Covid.”
Am I now less likely to get Covid-19 again?
Infection provides some natural immunity to coronavirus, but it is not that simple.
“We often talk about immunity to this virus, as if it is a yes or no thing. You are either immune or you are not. But Mother Nature rarely works that way,” he said.
Immunity is on a continuum. This can change over time.
Covid-19, for example, is not chickenpox. “In chickenpox, you do not get chickenpox again, but it is, you know, a high bar,” Cohen said.
“I wish you could say that once you catch Covid, you never catch it again. It’s not that kind of virus,” he said. “So we know with re-infection data that you do not become immune to it just because you had a previous infection. There are some things you catch and never catch again, but this is one of those things where, yes , you will keep getting it. ”
But, experts say, do not go crazy. Take precautions.
“I would not say that someone should feel comfortable if they have had an infection, that they can run around and feel that you are immune to a re-infection or complications,” Snyder said. “It provides some protection. I would not rely on it for 100% protection.”
At some point along the way, Wohl said, this coronavirus could be more like the common cold – another coronavirus – and people will get it every few years, but it may not be that serious and there will be treatments that are easy. access. But those days are not here yet.
Does being sick with a variant provide protection against another?
After any Covid-19 disease, your body is generally able to spot coronavirus.
“Whichever variant, your body is now better able to recognize that virus in the future. It’s stronger; it’s better prepared,” Snyder said. But exactly how prepared is not entirely clear.
The Delta and Omicron variants were in circulation around the holiday. Capturing one of them may still make you vulnerable to the other.
“The degree of cross-protection from Delta and Omicron is not very well known yet,” Cohen said. “It’s generally a complicated answer, but for a simplified answer, the answer is that a natural infection confers some immunity and probably confers some cross-immunity, but the magnitude of the cross-immunity is unknown.”
If Omicron infection makes people less susceptible to Delta infections, that could be a good thing, the researchers noted. “If so, then the incidence of Covid-19 serious disease would be reduced and the infection could change to become less disruptive to individuals and communities,” Alex Sigal and Khadija Khan of the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, and colleagues wrote in their report.
But remember, there is no telling which other variants may appear after these, or how different they may be from Delta or Omicron.
What if I became ill but had not been vaccinated or boosted? Do I still need a shot?
The experts say yes.
With this particular coronavirus, your immune response is better with a vaccine than with a natural infection, Vermund said. It is not entirely clear why.
Studies on Covid-19 gene infection show that this is true. Gene infection was more common in a person who had natural immunity than in someone who was vaccinated.
“The odds are much lower if you got a vaccine – not even boosted, just vaccinated – to become re-infected compared to if you had not been vaccinated and been infected before,” Wohl said.
“We encourage anyone who has had an infection to still be vaccinated because vaccination helps the body prepare by making a more robust set of antibodies,” Snyder said. “They bind more strongly, and especially the boosters are wider. They are able to recognize differences in the virus.”
Following a vaccine, any re-infection is likely to cause a much less serious illness.
What if I was boosted and then got Covid? Can I throw caution to the wind afterwards?
If you’ve had a breakthrough infection, your immune system is well prepared and ready to fight the coronavirus when it encounters it again, Wohl said. Your body should be better prepared if you encounter Omicron again, but there is no absolute guarantee that you would be protected if, for example, you waded into an unmasked audience for a concert.
“We’re in the middle of a wave of waves. This is the worst time to be out there unmasked and around other people’s noses and throats,” Wohl said.
Plus, again, you can not be sure that the virus you come in contact with will be the same variant that you have caught before.
“The reason the person who’s had Covid and boosted still wants to use common sense is because we do not yet understand what other variants will be out there and how they will respond to them,” Cohen said.
Can I get long Covid after Omicron? Or could my kids get MIS-C?
The Omicron variant is too new for experts to know anything about its long-term effects.
“We do not know yet,” Snyder said. “It’s too early to know.”