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KOLKATA: A couple in central Kolkata tested their swab samples on December 25 on getting the news that one of their close contacts they met only three days ago had developed symptoms. They tested positive. The couple had only mild symptoms and was in home isolation. They decided to test their swab samples on January 1 as they wanted to attend a small family function. The result for both were negative.
“None of us had any health issues. We wanted to check our Covid status as there was a family function with 10 guests. We were surprised to find ourselves negative after five days, ”said the couple.
Their case is not an isolated one. Doctors are getting a large number of patients who are turning negative in just about three to four days later. Health experts said these are tell-tale signs that the virus in circulation is causing not only mild infections and but is also striking a person fast, in two to three days of being in contact with a positive person, and that the period of virus cycle in a person’s body is getting shortened.
“In most symptomatic patients, the symptoms are resolving within four to five days and they are becoming virus-free. Possibilities are that these infections are caused by Omicron which has a shorter incubation period and the virus is staying inside the body for a much shorter period of time, ”said the microbiologist. Bhaskar Narayan Chaudhuri of Peerless Hospital.
Earlier, the incubation period for the virus on an average was five to seven days. So, a person had to wait for these many days for the symptoms to throw up before going for the test.
“There’s no doubt that even the clinical improvement in symptomatic patients this time is much faster than what we came across during the two previous waves. But we need to observe more cases for about a week more to come to some conclusion about how the prevalent variant is going to impact the healthcare system, ”said IPGMER infectious diseases specialist. Yogiraj Ray.
During the previous waves many of the infected will go on testing positive even after three weeks of the infection long after the symptoms have resolved. This time, positive patients, including the confirmed Omicron-positive international travelers, are testing negative within five days.
“Most patients admitted to hospital are getting free of symptoms within a short span of time. Even as many do not need hospital care, some are coming out of panic, ”said infectious diseases specialist Sayan Chakrabarty of AMRI Dhakuria.

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