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hmmmmmm's avatar

Could some of us have had COVID-19 and not known it?

Asked by hmmmmmm (6865points) April 23rd, 2020

On February 19th, I came down with a sudden fever, aches, and a cough. Everything hurt, and I was kicking myself for having missed my flu shot this year.

The cough was brutal, non-productive, and dragged on for some time. On February 25th I called my doctor to order a new asthma inhaler because it had been years since I had last had one. My breathing was a bit scary, and the cough didn’t do anything. By March 2nd, the cough appeared to be mostly gone.

Anyway, I’ve been joking that I might have already had covid. But with the news that California found evidence that it had spread in the US earlier than previously assumed, I’m starting to wonder if I might have actually had this (even though I’m all the way in MA).

Any chance I may have had this? Are there any reliable tests available for antibodies? And is it true that you still may be able to catch it again?

(Hey doc in a caravan)

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19 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

1) I’m sure that’s true – people have carried COVID-19 and not known it, and/or they had what they thought was a cold, and it really was COVID. I had something a month ago – never got tested because it wasn’t bad enough – but it could have been anything. (including allergies). I think that when all is said and done, we’re going to find that some huge percentage of the population – maybe 75% – had it and didn’t know it.

2) Apparently antibody tests are in progress, but not yet FDA-approved and in large supply.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

It’s possible that my husband and I had it back in February.
We have no way of knowing unless we get tested at some point.Whatever it was, knocked my ass out.

ucme's avatar

Who cares!
It doesn’t matter if you, or anyone else has had it.
If you have then you have, if not, then so be it, take your chances like everybody else.
If there’s no way of knowing & It’s likely that we can contract the bugger more than once, then none of that shit matters at all.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I have a lingering dry cough right now. Is it allergies or COVID? Your guess is as good as mine.

I suspect viruses traverse the population all the time and we don’t notice it. I’d love to hear from a disease specialist if this is true or not. About three years ago I had a particularly brutal cold/flu…something that took my sense of smell and it has not really returned to normal yet. I take this stuff seriously now even though I rarely get sick or just don’t notice I’m sick

janbb's avatar

It certainly sounds like you might have @hmmmmmm . But again that doesn’t indicate whether or not you could get it again.

canidmajor's avatar

If you can tested for antibodies, @hmmmmmm, I know that in some areas they are looking for plasma donors to help to try to find possible treatments.

gorillapaws's avatar

My wife and I had wicked illnesses this winter. It’s very unlikely that it was COVID-19. I just think there were nasty bugs going around this winter. If it had been COVID-19, it would have spread much more widely and killed a ton of people. We’d already have heard immunity by now without containment measures in place back then.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I do think some people did. I recall a friend in NY posting about three weeks before the first official case, a day she went to go for a run (she’s a longtime runner) and was so gripped with breathlessness that she had to stop about about 3 minutes. Came home to “the worst flu” of her life that knocked her flat for over a week with a cough and severe shortness of breath. Could have been the flu, sure, but given her location and the severity of the symptoms it makes you wonder.

gorillapaws's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf So the people your friend came into contact with at the time got horribly sick as well right? And some had to be put on ventilators?

hmmmmmm's avatar

Here is a relevant article on possible earlier outbreak in certain cities. According to this, Boston could have had almost 3,000 cases by March 1.

I probably just had the flu. But man, when I returned to work I described it as “the worst flu I’ve ever had”.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I wondered the same myself. I had a flu shot when they first begin suggesting it just before the season.
There were a couple of times I felt I would surely die. I could not breathe, and my chest felt like it was pinned under a car.
Near the end of it I had a regular check up with my doctor. I told her something was new because I’d been having killer headaches, and I am not prone to headaches at all. She told me to take acetaminophen. She then boosted my inhaler scrip because my lungs were so noisy.

hmmmmmm's avatar

The strange thing is that my youngest (11 years old) just got a fever, had some “digestive” issues, and felt tired, but recovered quickly. My daughter was more sick than I’ve ever seen her, my wife had the cough, and my 14 year old didn’t even get sick.

I have recently heard that some kids can get mild symptoms, like my son had.

Anyway, I know it doesn’t matter if we did have it or not. I’m just curious.

Patty_Melt's avatar

It might matter, if they start massive collecting of plasma.

raum's avatar

I’ve considered this. We also had something particularly nasty during winter break.

But I think I’ve settled in the @gorillapaws camp. Seems unlikely, otherwise we’d have heard about deaths on ventilators much sooner. (Lots of friends in healthcare.)

gorillapaws's avatar

@raum I think it was a nasty cold or something else that was going around this winter. COVID is so virulent, if it was widespread in the community back in January, the US would have looked like Italy does today, back then.

This idea that it was already widespread is dangerous, because people will falsely assume they’re safe and behave recklessly, spreading COVID to their community.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I agree to some extent that a few people could behave recklessly.
I believe what I had for several weeks was 19, but I’m not going to take risks. I have asked my VA doctor to let me know if/when an antibody test becomes available here.

raum's avatar


ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Guess it isn’t too far fetched that my friend in NYC might have had it 3 weeks before it was known to be in the US, since the state health director in Ohio is now saying it was likely here in my state in early January.

Hellboyroy's avatar

You have COVID before you know it… i should have been a poet.

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