Can you come into contact with somebody that has the virus but not get it?

Mar 15, 2020
Hi Everyone:

First off, may all be safe and healthy.

I have some questions about the spread of the virus. I am sorry if any seem foolish.

1 If you are closer than six feet to John Doe who has the virus but he did not sneeze in your presence, cough, or shale your hand, could you avoid being infected in that scenario?

2) If John Doe has the virus and comes into contact with people is there a period of time where he would not spread the infection because the full symptoms have not manifested

3) How much does current health play a part in the possibility of not catching the virus? For example if somebody is a non-smoker, never touched an illegal drug, good health (no lung, heart, or kidney, or blood pressure issues) and had not been sick in several months, do they have a chance of not getting infected by John Doe where Jane X who is a life long smoker and was sick with a different virus last month comes into contact?

4) Finally please. Could somebody end up getting infected but not have the symptoms fever, cough, or trouble breathing and it would be a lower grade level that would go away without the individual ever know what happened?

Thank you for your time and everyone be safe and healthy always,


Nov 12, 2019
1) Your chances of infection certainly go up if you are in contact with an infected person, but it does not guarantee you will contract the virus if you generally take precautions such as not touching, washing hands frequently (remembering that surfaces can hold the virus for quite some time, doorknobs and other things we touch with our hands are particularly risky). This is how health care workers can avoid catching it while treating people with active cases, along with latex gloves, using sterilized equipment and frequent cleaning of examination areas.

2) According to the various articles published on reputable sites, people with no symptoms or minor symptoms can transmit the virus if they are carrying it.

3) Your current health does not play a role in whether or not you catch the virus, but it does play a role in how severely it affects you. People with compromised immune systems, advanced age (when everything naturally slows down, including immune response), or pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, COPD, asthma, heart disease, and many others... these all increase the risk of developing severe symptoms, or allowing secondary infections (such as bacterial or viral pneumonia) to take hold.

4) From all we have read thus far in reputable news agencies (such as LiveScience, Washington Post, AP, Reuters, NY Times and a dozen others), it is possible to have the virus and not manifest noticeable symptoms at all, or symptoms may manifest much later, after the virus has already been active. This is viewed as being one of the reasons the virus has been able to escape many mandatory measures aimed at curbing transmission.

The important thing is to stay informed, and to stay away from pseudoscience sites. Choose your trusted news media well, and avoid the siren song of sensationalist sites, miracle cures or other coverage that does not follow scientific principles.
Hang in there, we're all in this together, and we'll get through it together!