Negative COVID-19 test: now what?
You had a negative COVID test. Keep protecting yourself! A vaccine will be available eventually. Be aware of your surroundings when social distancing and wear your mask. Until there are vaccines to protect us against COVID-19, everyone is still vulnerable.
Quarantine for several weeks after any possible exposure to the infection. Because you can be infected for several weeks before you show any symptoms, don’t wait for symptoms before protecting yourself!
If the virus turned us green or orange, we might know quickly who is infected so we could stay away from them. But it doesn’t!
I will show how much I care for your good health by wearing a mask. Please do the same for me!
How can I protect myself?
After total isolation, the next best and most effective strategy is to wear a mask. Airborne droplets of sneezing or singing, or of close conversation are easy to avoid when you wear a mask. Keep at least six feet between you and your friends, even masked.
- Be sure you can breathe through your mask
- Wear it properly, covering your nose and mouth and not gapping open on the sides
- Wear a clean mask every day
- Simply wash your cloth masks in soap and water in the laundry after wearing them
In your own home or your own car, don’t wear the mask. In public, in the grocery store, and out and about, wear it. Avoid crowded areas like theaters. Do not eat indoors at restaurants, especially if staff and other patrons are not masking! Sports events and rallies are great, but they are also huge sources of infection. Between public distancing and masking, you can be much safer.
From negative COVID test to vaccine
And what about those vaccines? Vaccines are not right around the corner, even as companies gear up quickly.
Recently, ABC news said, “Vaccine trials usually undergo three rounds of testing: phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3. The first two trials are typically smaller ones, testing mostly for vaccine safety and biological activity, requiring from 50 to hundreds of volunteers respectively. Due to their smaller size, it’s relatively easy for pharmaceutical companies to run these studies in their home countries.”
They even produce large quantities of vaccines they are testing. That way, if a vaccine proves effective, those companies are ahead in production. They don’t have that big lag if they have simultaneously developed and tested a vaccine. Ineffective vaccines can be destroyed as their testing moves on to the next possible vaccine.
More about a COVID-19 vaccine
Researching companies can also safely shorten the timeline of vaccine tests. But while they can skip the long, designed-in evaluation periods between phases, they don’t skip or ignore the science during phased testing, however.
Researchers evaluate just how the virus affects the brain, heart, lungs, circulatory system, and the rest of the body. They compare what they see in patients of a range of ages and basic health with other already-studied and known diseases. They look at young and old patients: pre-symptomatic, those with active infections, and those who have died with the virus. Understanding how the virus operates in the body should help suggest medicines to treat Covid-19 and how to prevent it infecting you in the first place. Don’t fall victim to rumors and untested theories!
Phase three trials involve thousands of volunteers, and researchers prefer to conduct them where there are a lot of active cases. This means that the US, with increasing active cases daily, will likely be a good testing ground for vaccines. Vaccines will eventually help us put away our masks, and the pandemic will be controlled. But it will take time.
So, stay tuned to reliable reports. You tested negative, and there may be vaccines available before the end of 2020. In the meantime, wear your mask and limit your time, even masked, in groups.