How To Tell People You Have COVID-19?

Khang T. Vuong, MHA
Khang T. Vuong, MHA6 Oct 2021
Reviewed and Fact Checked ✔️

Unawareness and lack of communication can lead to an accelerated community spread between one individual to many others. A few things you should keep in mind:

  • It is not your fault that you are feeling this way; we are in a pandemic
  • Coronavirus can spread extremely quickly; one contact could turn into 30+ infected individuals
  • Not communicating is the same as contributing to the spread of this virus
  • You are doing people a favor by letting them know, and you could save lives by doing so

This framework of why, when, how, and what to say will guide you through the process of letting your loved ones know you might have Coronavirus, from the moment you suspect you may have COVID-19 symptoms to the moment you test positive.

While no one wants to hear that they may have been exposed to Coronavirus, fostering positive communication will help contain the spread of coronavirus by encouraging your loved ones to practice self-containment and minimize further exposure.

Why Should You Tell People You Have COVID-19?

According to McKinsey, the Coronavirus is much more contagious and lethal than the flu. The disease spreads from respiratory droplets, which can travel through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or from close person-to-person contact, meaning people have come within six feet of one another.

COVID 19 is much more infectious tha influenza
COVID 19 is much more infectious than influenza

Each host could spread to 2-4 other people without even knowing. This means that if you have come within six feet of someone who may have coronavirus, they have a higher chance of getting the infection from you, especially if masks were not being worn. 

Whether or not a person experiences symptoms, they can spread the disease to other people in the community. 

While most young, healthy people will recover from COVID-19, the elderly (ages 70 and over) are 40 to 90 times more likely to die from Coronavirus complications than younger adults in their 30s. This means you could unknowingly put yourself and your friends and family members at risk if preventative measures were taken lightly.

Older people are more like to die from COVID-19 than younger individuals
Older people are more like to die from COVID-19 than younger individuals

Knowing that you may have been exposed to coronavirus is the first step toward getting tested and taking measures to prevent its spread to others in the community - which is why if you have tested positive for coronavirus (or suspect you may have been exposed to it), you owe it to your loved ones to notify them about their potential exposure to COVID-19.

Will I Get Fired From My Job If I Have COVID-19?

While you should always consult with an attorney, having an understanding of basic rights can help.

"Are they not attending because they have their own serious medical condition, or because they are caring for a family member who has a serious medical condition? In those circumstances, the employee's job would be protected by the Family Medical Leave Act." - said Sheri Oluyemi, an Atlanta-based employment attorney.

"If your employee is exempt, meaning they have more a more managerial role and they're usually on a salary, you can also stop paying them if they aren't coming to work, but there are more nuances," Oluyemi said.

When To Tell Someone You Have COVID-19 

Sometimes, you may learn that you have been exposed to coronavirus by another person in your life who has tested positive. Other times, you may not know you have COVID-19 until you begin to express symptoms of the disease.

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Khang T. Vuong, MHA

Khang T. Vuong received his Master of Healthcare Administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. He was named Forbes Healthcare 2021 30 under 30. Vuong spoke at Stanford Medicine X, HIMSS conference, and served as a Fellow at the Bon Secours Health System.

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