A transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19 shows spherical viral particles, colorized blue.

Q: I know a couple of people who tested positive for COVID-19. They were sick. They got antibiotics and 3 days later were out in public. Is this an appropriate amount of time to not be contagious?

A: No.

A person with COVID-19 may be contagious 48 to 72 hours before starting to experience symptoms, which are thought to start three to 14 days after they are exposed to COVID-19, according to Harvard Health Publishing, a consumer health education division of Harvard Medical School.

Emerging research suggests that people may actually be most likely to spread the virus to others within 48 hours before they start experiencing symptoms. Research also shows people who are infected and asymptomatic may be more likely to spread the illness because they are less likely to be isolating or adopting behaviors designed to prevent spread.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a person who thinks or knows they had COVID-19 and experienced symptoms can be around others after 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, they’ve gone 24 hours with no fever without using fever-reducing medications and have seen improvement in other symptoms.

People with no symptoms who tested positive for COVID-19 can be around other people 10 days after testing positive for the virus, according to the federal agency.

There are documented exceptions so some experts still recommend 14 days of isolation.

As for the antibiotics you said these people received antibiotics do not prevent or treat the coronavirus because it is caused by a virus, not bacteria.

Some patients with COVID-19 may also develop a bacterial infection, such as pneumonia. In that case, a health care professional may treat the infection with an antibiotic but will not use antibiotics to treat COVID-19.

Recommended For You

Kali Venable is an investigative and environmental reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.


Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.