Asymptomatic means that no symptoms or signs of disease are present.
The majority of carriers are largely asymptomatic. Kids especially may only display mild symptoms. Young adults may feel perfectly fine, but nevertheless be highly contagious. While the incubation period for most cases is four or five days, it is thought to be up to 14 days long.
Here’s the story of a healthy 31-year-old with no medical issues who caught the virus.
“I didn’t think I had the coronavirus at first. The day before my symptoms started, I went to the gym just like I do almost every day – I felt 100% fine. The next day – BOOM! I was hit with an avalanche of symptoms – literally all at once.
“There were only two reported positive COVID-19 cases in Tennessee at the time – at the start of March – and only one was in my county. I live with my family and typically just spend my time at work, the gym, with my family, or running errands to the store.
“After four days, I began to realize this was more than a typical infection. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen has always lowered my fevers when I’ve had them in the past, but this time, my fever consistently stayed between 101 and 103 degrees and I worsened as the days passed.
“By day 8, I was really dehydrated and my fatigue was worsening. Just getting out of bed and taking a few steps into the bathroom would leave me doubled over my sink in exhaustion because I felt like I had just run a marathon. I felt terrible all over, but the cough was the worst part. It got to the point where I felt like someone grabbed me by the throat and chest and I was choking. It was becoming physically impossible to take a full, deep breath, so I went to an urgent care center.
“After an exam, they sent me straight to the emergency room of my local hospital where my blood pressure was dangerously low and my resting heart rate, which should be around 70, was 120. An X-ray revealed I had pneumonia in both lungs, and I was admitted. I could barely take a breath, and they were worried if they released me to go home I would really struggle. At that point, on my third attempt to get a COVID-19 test, I finally got one. Two days later, to no one’s surprise, the results came back from the state lab. I was positive.
“The isolation that comes with COVID-19 is very challenging. Nobody can be with you, and feeling this sick while being alone is just awful. Even the hospital staff practiced cluster care. That means they’d get everything together they needed to bring to me and do it all at once and then exit the room as quickly as possible. You are fighting this disease alone. The mental isolation is exhausting.
“I’m still surprised I was one of first in my state to have COVID-19. I live a very normal life. I go to work, gym and the grocery store. I’m not in a ton more places, and I’ve always been very healthy, so the fact that I got this was shocking to me and very eye-opening
“If I can get it, anybody can. You are contagious for up to 2 weeks before you show symptoms. During that time, I took group fitness classes, worked, and shopped. I don’t know how an elderly person or someone with underlying medical conditions would handle this. It’s really, really bad and very, very hard.
“If you aren’t afraid for yourself, then think of someone you love – your partner, parent, child, or friend – sick, in pain, gasping for breath and alone, in a hospital room by themselves. Having been there myself, I can tell you – it’s not something you want anybody to experience.”
Please. Stay home.