If You Have Coronavirus Symptoms, Assume You Have the Illness, Even if You Test Negative – By Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D. – The New York Times


“You had some exposures that may put you at risk for coronavirus. A few days later you come down with a bad cough yourself and feel a little short of breath and really tired. You take your temperature: 101 degrees. A fever.

You suspect you might have Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The days roll into each other, and your doctor urges you to stay home unless your condition worsens. You feel pretty bad, though, and finally get an appointment.

They test you for influenza by sticking a swab far up your nose, and you are told the test came back negative, you don’t have flu. They tell you they are saving the Covid-19 tests for those who are even worse off than you are. You go home with a prescription for antibiotics, possibly because they don’t know what else to do, and read about celebrities who are testing positive but don’t seem so sick.

A couple of days later, still with fevers, you go back, and the doctors relent and test you for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. They again stick something up your nose to what feels like the bottom of your eyeball.

They tell you that the results will be available in a couple of days and you go home and wait. Finally, the results come back and you are told you do not have Covid-19. Now what?

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