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Coronavirus symptoms may ‘reactivate’ in some recovered patients

Published Apr 13th, 2020 8:57AM EDT
Coronavirus Symptoms
Image: Deliris/Shutterstock

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  • Coronavirus symptoms may return in patients who successfully recovered from the initial infection.
  • The World Health Organization is looking into the matter following reports of coronavirus re-activation in South Korean patients.
  • The United States now has more coronavirus deaths than any other country in the world.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

We’re well into April and the coronavirus is still raging across America. Just this weekend, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 550,000. Meanwhile, the cumulative number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. now exceeds 22,000. To put that figure into context, the U.S. now has more coronavirus deaths than any other country in the world.

The good news is that the coronavirus may be peaking in a number of U.S. cities, including New York City which has long been the epicenter of the coronavirus in the country.

“The models do show that we are very close to the peak,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said this past weekend. “This has been a really fast-moving outbreak, so we really have to take this day by day.”

The bad news, though, is that some initial reports suggest that patients recovering from the coronavirus and seemingly in the clear are now testing positive for the virus yet again. The reports involve coronavirus patients from South Korea who were initially discharged after testing negative for the virus.

The New York Times adds:

South Korean officials on Friday reported 91 patients thought cleared of the new coronavirus had tested positive again. Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a briefing that the virus may have been “reactivated” rather than the patients being re-infected.

As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now looking into the matter.

“We are aware of these reports of individuals who have tested negative for COVID-19 using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing and then after some days testing positive again,” a WHO spokesperson said in a statement.

“We are closely liaising with our clinical experts and working hard to get more information on those individual cases,” the spokesperson added. “It is important to make sure that when samples are collected for testing on suspected patients, procedures are followed properly.”

As it stands now, the working assumption is that COVID-19 patients can recover from the virus in about two weeks. Once a patient tests negative for the virus twice within a 24-hour time period, they’re eligible for discharge. If, however, it turns out that the virus can somehow re-activate within patients who are feeling okay and who test negative per the above protocol, the consequences would be dire for both patients and their communities.

That said, it’s important not to jump to any conclusions until a more thorough investigation is completed.

Incidentally, the number of coronavirus-related symptoms has expanded in recent weeks. While a heavy fever and other flu-like ailments remain the most common manifestations of coronavirus infection, some patients have experienced a loss of smell, hives, and a number of other skin conditions.

Lastly, Los Angeles County over the weekend extended its stay-at-home directive until May 15. In turn, it stands to reason that other large cities in the U.S. — with New York City and Chicago being two prime examples — will extend their own stay-at-home directives past April 30 as well.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.