COVID-19 question of the day: “What does it mean to be a carrier of COVID-19?”

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — If you have a question about COVID-19, call WKRG News 5’s coronavirus hotline at 251-662-3055.

The question for May 21 is:
“Could you please clear something up for us? Could you explain the difference between someone who is a carrier of the coronavirus and someone who just contracts it and gets sick from it? Thank you very much.”

Some people know they have coronavirus. If someone has several signs and symptoms, it’s easier to tell. Of course a test is needed to confirm.

But someone who’s a carrier may have very mild symptoms, or they may not have any symptoms. And because those mild symptoms– like fever, sore throat, cough, gastrointestinal issues, muscle pain, chills, headache– can mirror other more common illnesses like the flu or a cold, many people who are in fact infected with coronavirus don’t realize that’s what they have.

If you have a cold, you probably don’t self-isolate. Instead, you may go to the drug store to get medicine. Let’s say you sneeze while you’re there. You didn’t cover your face completely when you did and little do you know that you just gave the person in the checkout line behind you COVID. Or if you have COVID with no symptoms and you aren’t practicing social distancing, you could simply be talking to someone and a droplet of your spit lands in their eye. You’ve just unknowingly subjected that person to the virus.

Recent studies suggest as many as 80-percent of those infected with COVID-19 are those silent carriers with mild or no symptoms and are a key part of spreading the virus.

Those with underlying health conditions are usually the ones who exhibit symptoms, but that’s not the case every time. Why some people with coronavirus are asymptomatic while others develop life-threatening illness is still being studied.

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