Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Risks

Here are answers to common questions about COVID-19 risks.

If I have COVID-19, but I’m asymptomatic, can the virus still hurt me?
Does blood type play a role in susceptibility of COVID-19?
Which pre-existing conditions put you most at risk for COVID-19 complications?
Does uncontrolled hypertension put me at higher risk for COVID-19?
Is it safe to go back to physicians for annual appointments?
My spouse works outside the house. What's the best way to protect myself?
Is it safe to eat at an outdoor restaurant?
Should I avoid the hospital?
If I have antibodies, can I get the virus again?
What percentage of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic?

If I have COVID, but I’m asymptomatic, can the virus still hurt me?


As of now, experts believe that if you have COVID-19 but no symptoms, you are not likely to develop them later. 

But that doesn’t mean you're fully in the clear. Some asymptomatic people have developed complications in the lungs from a COVID-19 infection. Another study found asymptomatic patients had heart damage. Others are developing symptoms weeks after testing positive.

Research is ongoing and experts aren’t clear if these issues are widespread. The damage may also be reversible.

Epidemiologists are still tracking cases, but asymptomatic COVID cases make up between 15 and 40 percent of all cases. 

If you are asymptomatic you can still spread the disease, so be sure to take precautions such as social distancing, regular hand washing, disinfecting commonly used surfaces, wearing a mask in public, keeping your hands away from your face and sneezing/coughing into a tissue. 

And since it might be possible to catch COVID more than once, work with your doctor to manage any chronic conditions and keep your immune system strong. Here are a few tips to help you


Does blood type play a role in susceptibility of COVID?


Early reports suggested that some blood types may be associated with higher risk for COVD-19 infection and mortality. But more recent studies have shown that blood type has no effect on whether people get infected and how severe their infection is. 

Blood types B and AB and those who are Rh+ positive are more likely to test positive for coronavirus, and O blood types are more likely to test negative, but this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily more likely to get the disease — just more likely to test positive. 

Scientists say more research is needed.


Which pre-existing conditions put you most at risk for COVID-19 complications?


Having a chronic condition raises your risk for complications when you catch any virus whether it’s influenza, pneumonia or just a common cold. COVID-19 is no exception.

While 80 percent of people who have contracted COVID-19 had mild symptoms and recovered with little medical intervention, 15 percent developed serious symptoms and another 5 percent had life-threatening symptoms. Experts think complications developed in many of the people in these last two groups due to underlying conditions. That doesn’t mean that everyone with underlying conditions gets sick or that people who are perfectly healthy can’t develop complications from COVID-19, but people with chronic conditions fare worse, according to the CDC. 

The most common underlying health conditions involved in severe COVID-19 cases are cardiovascular disease (32 percent), diabetes (30 percent) and chronic lung disease (18 percent). Here’s how these three conditions cause COVID complications

Obesity is also a major contributor to complications — and increasing risks are seen in studies with increasing obesity.


Does uncontrolled hypertension put me at higher risk for COVID?


Having uncontrolled or untreated high blood pressure may not raise your risk for contracting COVID-19 but can raise your risk for complications once you get sick. 

Early in the pandemic, there was a concern that blood pressure medications may have put some people at higher risk, but subsequent studies have shown this isn’t the case. Read more about blood pressure and COVID-19.


Is it safe to go back to physicians for annual appointments?


It's very important to keep in contact with your doctor during the pandemic. They can help you manage conditions, keep your immune system strong and control stress/anxiety.

Before you go in, call ahead to see if they've adopted some safety precautions or procedures. MDVIP-affiliated practices have put an abundance of COVID safety measures in place. For instance, many have restructured appointments to limit the number of people in the office. 

And some MDVIP-affiliated practices are offering telehealth appointments, so it's important to call ahead.


My spouse works outside the house. What's the best way to protect myself?


For many Americans, this is a common situation -- one spouse can work at home or stay at home while the other has to work in a public job where they may come in contact with others. 

The best way to protect yourself is to have your spouse to use the same best practices recommended by the CDC when they go to work: Practice social distancing, wash their hands frequently and wear a mask when social distancing isn't feasible. 

If your spouse or partner becomes sick, the CDC recommends you separate healthy members of your family from the sick ones. Here are their guidelines.


Is it safe to eat at an outdoor restaurant? 


Outdoor dining is safer than indoor, particularly if it's not crowded. Look for restaurants that are spacing tables at least six feet apart. You can still catch COVID-19 via respiratory droplets that are released into the air and fall on surfaces when someone speaks, sneezes or coughs.

Obviously, you can't eat while wearing a mask. But you can wear a mask until your food arrives and wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) before eating and after touching surfaces like glasses, tables and utensils.  

Here is more information to help you dine safely at restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Should I avoid the hospital?

You shouldn't delay preventive care or avoid the hospital. Hospitals have safety procedures, require masks and restrict visitors. They also typically isolate patients with infectious diseases like COVID-19 from other patients, making transmission less likely.

If you've been delaying a procedure or an appointment, talk to your MDVIP-affiliated physician (if you're having an emergency, call 9-1-1.) They can guide you as to the safest place to get your care, whether it be their office, a clinic or hospital and help you plan non-urgent treatment.


If I have antibodies, can I get the virus again?


Unfortunately, we do not know the answer to this question yet.

As of now, experts think it may be possible to get COVID-19 more than once – or for an infection to flare back up. Researchers think that if a patient was previously infected with COVID-19 encounters the virus again, that they will be able to mount a stronger immune response than when they first encountered the virus. 

There are now several confirmed cases of reinfection, months after the first infection. 

If you test positive or negative for COVID-19 on a viral or antibody test, you still should take preventive measures to protect yourself and others, according to the CDC. These steps can help prevent you from spreading the disease to others and contracting it again.

Here's what you need to know


What percentage of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic? 


 We don't know an exact answer to this question, but the CDC estimates that around 40 percent of COVID-19 cases are asymptomatic, based on data that was collected through the end of June


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