The new novel coronavirus can transmit from one person to another even when the patient does not show any symptoms.
Scientists knew this several months ago, but they are constantly trying to figure out how long a patient can transmit the virus to other people.
Now a medical study in China has answered that question.
The study, published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, found in a group of people with COVID-19 that the virus was excreted from their bodies for an average of 17 days.
The Changsha Public Health Treatment Center study included 147 patients who were treated at the hospital from January 24 to March 8, 2020.
The patients were over 18 years of age and the average age was 42 years, while 54% were women.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in these patients included fever and cough, which appeared 6 days before hospitalization, when they were treated.
Overall, the severity of the disease was mild in 86% of patients who were diagnosed with fever, respiratory problems and pneumonia in chest scans.
The disease was more severe in the remaining 14% who had difficulty breathing and lack of oxygen in the blood.
After analyzing the medical records of these patients, the researchers found that it took an average of 17 days to report the first sign of COVID-19 and for getting a negative test.