For patients recovering from a bout of the potentially deadly coronavirus, there is no road map to follow — it’s uncharted territory. The guidelines about when patients can resume normal activity vary from country to country — and even within countries. A woman with COVID-19 symptoms in Denver was told to self-quarantine in her home for 10 days and until she was fever-free. A Cincinnati-based woman was advised to self-isolate for 14 days and until she was symptom-free for three days.
In the Netherlands, people are also getting the 14-day directive and in Australia, people who are ill need two consecutive negative tests after the symptoms are gone before they are declared safe to return to their normal activities.
The reason for the confusion and uncertainty is that knowledge about the virus is scant, claimed The Wall Street Journal. In some countries, the guidelines vary according to the severity of the illness. In Australia, for example, there are three sets of guidelines: one for those who have mild cases, one for those who have been hospitalized, and a third set for healthcare workers, according to the Journal.
"We’re in uncharted territory. We really don't know. That’s the problem," admits John Gumina, chairman of family medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in New Jersey, the second hardest hit state in the U.S. after New York. According to the Journal, he recommends a 14-day quarantine but warns that sometimes even at that point, "patients are feeling pretty funky."
According to NPR, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that people can stop isolating themselves when they are fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine. As more testing becomes available in this country, a negative test result would also impact that decision. The CDC said this is all based on limited information, so the guidance may change as it learns more about the virus, NPR noted.
The agency stresses, "the decision to stop home isolation should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider and state and local health departments. Local decisions depend upon local circumstances," according to the Journal.
The Washington Post reported that survivors really don't know where they stand in the war against the coronavirus. They are rattled, confused, and feel stigmatized as they re-enter society. Ritchie Torres, a New York City Council member from the Bronx, contracted and recovered from COVID-19 and his doctors said he no longer had to self-quarantine since it can be presumed he's immune to further infection, says the Post.
But Torres decided to continue self-isolation.
"When you are possibly carrying a deadly virus, there's no margin for error. So, the safest thing is to assume the worst and stay home," he said.
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