Covid-19 Patients Most Infectious In 1st Week, Viral Levels Highest When Coughing, Sneezing & Talking

NCID Consultant Says Covid-19 Most Infectious In 1st Week, Urges Those With Symptoms To Seek Medical Attention

There is still much to learn about the relatively new coronavirus that causes Covid-19, but medical practitioners have since made some headway.

On Monday (23 Mar), a consultant at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) said that Covid-19 patients are most infectious in the first week of contracting the virus.


Viral levels highest during the first week of infection

Dr Wong Chen Seong told Channel NewsAsia (CNA) in an interview that the level of the virus in a patient’s respiratory secretions — from coughing, sneezing or speech — are at its highest in the first week after being infected.

Respiratory secretions from sneezing, coughing and speech can be infectious.

In the 2nd week, the viral level apparently goes down.

Thus, patients are “most infectious” in the first week.

Patients with Covid-19 symptoms should isolate themselves

According to Dr Wong, this is exactly why people should seek immediate medical attention once they develop symptoms.

He was quoted by CNA as stressing:

If you’re given a stay-home notice or asked to stay home on medical certificate, just stay at home. Avoid contact with people unnecessarily.

Dr Wong suggests that these patients also avoid sharing cutlery or food, and isolate themselves in their own rooms to limit the risk of transmission.

For people that live alongside symptomatic family members on stay-home notice or leave of absence, good personal hygiene, even at home, is paramount, he said.

Dr Wong Chen Seong

No clear idea if lost sense of smell is a symptom

While patients overseas have reported losing their sense of smell, it is unclear if this can be classified as a symptom of the coronavirus.

Dr Wong added:

We’ve had a few patients here at NCID who have reported such symptoms as well. But as to how common it is, we don’t really have a clear idea of that yet.

Getting ahead of Covid-19 as a nation

Finally, Dr Wong provided some words of encouragement:

These are uncertain times and they are quite scary times as well, but we’ve gone through difficult times in the past, and we will get through this.

However, he adds that “we can only get through it if we go it together”.

While it’s still up in the air as to how the situation will unfold, worrying isn’t the most productive of options. We can only meet incoming challenges head on.

Combating Covid-19 needs to happen at a national level, not individually. As long as we stay mindful of others, we can overcome this pandemic together.

Featured image adapted from New York Post.

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

  • More From Author