Is It Possible That You Had The Coronavirus Earlier This Year?

Lindsay Holmes

Now that we’re all hyperaware of the new coronavirus, you might be thinking back on the last time you were sick. More specifically, you may be reflecting on that cold or respiratory illness you experienced back at the beginning of the year. Is there a chance that was actually COVID-19?

The main symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough, shortness of breath and a fever. Additionally, you might have digestive problems ― like nausea or diarrhea ― a headache and a sore throat. At the onset of the illness, you may experience a loss of smell or taste.

These symptoms can be mistaken for a bad cold or the flu, especially if you have a “mild” case of COVID-19. It’s also very possible to have the virus and not even notice, as some cases can be asymptomatic or negligible.

There’s evidence the coronavirus started spreading in America earlier than people were really tracking it. Some experts suspect that the first U.S. cases began in January. Lee Riley, chair of the division of infectious disease and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health, told Medium that it’s safe to assume the virus has probably been spreading in your community for about two weeks before there’s a confirmed death.

Combine all of these facts, and the theory that some people may have already been infected with the virus and recovered isn’t an outrageous one. That may be slightly comforting, especially since some experts believe you may have some level of immunity once you get COVID-19.

Unfortunately, there’s no effective way yet to know if you’ve had the virus in the past and recovered.

“At this point, we don’t have a test to tell that,” William Hillmann, an associate inpatient physician director at Massachusetts General Hospital, told The Guardian

“We are developing antibody tests to check for a prior infection, but those aren’t ready for clinical use yet,” Hillmann added. “The only definitive way to know that...

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