When Should You Tell Someone You Have Covid-19?

As more people test positive for the virus that causes Covid-19, people may be wondering when and how to tell others about their infections. Cortney Clift wrote a helpful piece about navigating these questions. First, if you have Covid-19, do not feel guilty. There’s a lot you can do to help prevent further spread.

Here’s an excerpt of Clift’s story, answering the question when should you say something after you test positive for Covid-19?

If you test positive for Covid-19, it’s crucial to quickly inform those with whom you’ve had (masked or unmasked) contact. But should you really wait for an official diagnosis to make those calls and send those texts? Or should you start even sooner, when you feel symptoms associated with Covid? While more disclosure is generally better than less, cold and flu season is complicating matters because it’s hard to tell which illness you may be coming down with. “It will be important not to freak each other out at every turn,” says Kumi Smith, PhD, an assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota. “My personal practice would be, if I’m reaching a point where I am considering getting a test, then that’s when I’d start to let people know.”

That said, other experts prefer earlier action, like Susie Welty, an academic program manager and contact tracing expert at UCSF: “I’d recommend letting your close contacts know as soon as you start to feel symptoms. Whether it’s Covid or the flu, it doesn’t really matter. They’re both infectious and you should act the same either way.”

Read the full story below.

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Alexandra Sifferlin

Alexandra Sifferlin

Health and science journalist. Former editor of Medium’s Covid-19 Blog and deputy editor at Elemental. TIME Magazine writer before that