Coronavirus tests in the UK have detected 88,621 total cases, more than China experienced at the height of its epidemic earlier this year. However, the country may have many more cases than previously thought, due in part to perceived testing shortfalls, as the government is yet to meet its daily target of 100,000.
Have I already had coronavirus?
Aside from testing, the only way for someone to know whether they have had coronavirus is by assuming.
Health officials have identified several cornerstone coronavirus symptoms which provide the best available clues for people to conclude whether they have had the virus.
The symptoms include:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
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Experts treat these symptoms as identifying of coronavirus, and people who exhibit them must self-isolate without leaving even during on government-approved occasions.
People who have displayed these symptoms may have had coronavirus, but the virus causes a “significant spectrum” of symptoms which mirror other diseases.
Those who contract the virus may also have mild symptoms which they attribute to something else such as an allergy.
Others may not have symptoms, at least for some time, making them a potential public health threat as a “super spreader”.
The only way to conclusively prove whether someone has or has had coronavirus is with testing.
Aside from the tests for an active virus are incoming “antibody” tests now seen as vital for informing the UK’s timeline eventual exit from the crisis.
They test for the presence of antibodies which develop in response to the coronavirus infection and remain once the disease has exited the body.
While the government has pinned its hopes on the tests, the country is yet to see widespread them in clinical settings.
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Dr William Hilmann of the Massachusetts General Hospital said he was “anxiously” waiting for them to come into use.
He said: “Antibody tests are being developed but are not in widespread clinical use yet.
“The antibody testing would allow us to check blood samples for antibodies against coronavirus to tell whether somebody has had it.
“I, and I think many others, are anxiously awaiting for those to become available.”
Can you get coronavirus again?
If someone develops antibodies from a disease, they gain some form of immunity from it.
COVID-19 causes the same bodily reaction, and experts believe immunity from the virus should be at least yearlong, if not last for life.
Reports from China suggest some people have tested positive for the disease twice, although officials believe this is a testing error rather than genuine reinfection.
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