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What Happens After Recovery From COVID?

Medically reviewed by Ika Villanueva Caperonce, MD · Infectious Disease · Makati Medical Center

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jun 28, 2021

What Happens After Recovery From COVID?

Despite all the safety measures, the risk of contracting the virus is always present. This is especially true for people who need to constantly go out to buy essential items or work. Should you contract the virus and survive it, what are the next steps? What happens after recovery from COVID?

At this point, you must understand that how you respond to the virus directly affects what happens after recovery from COVID-19.

COVID-19 presents differently in individuals. It can range from having no symptoms (asymptomatic) to a variable degree and severity of symptoms. It follows that what happens during recovery also depends on the type of illness that you have.

Asymptomatic vs Symptomatic Patients

People who do not develop the symptoms (asymptomatic) will go about their days like they normally do. They will not have an onset of fever or cough and generally would feel well. In other words, asymptomatic people do not necessarily need to “recover,” as they do not feel sick in the first place. However, they may unknowingly spread the virus to other people. It is worse if more vulnerable people contract the virus.

The more vulnerable population consists of people who:

  • Are over the age of 60
  • Have a pre-existing condition that compromises their health. This includes heart diseases, lung disorders, cancer
  • Are immuno-compromised
  • Had an organ transplant

If you or someone you know has any of the risk factors listed above, extra caution and closer monitoring is advised because you are at risk for developing more severe symptoms of covid-19.

The Symptoms

What happens after recovery from COVID-19 depends on the type of symptoms and severity of disease you developed.. The severity of COVID-19 includes:

  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
  • Critical

Vulnerable patients have a higher risk of having severe and critical symptoms of COVID-19. The good news is, mild to moderate cases are still more common.

Even with this knowledge, experts are still asking healthy people to be careful. This is because some young and healthy people who contract the virus can become severely ill, and may die.

What to Do If You Contract the Virus?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the most important thing to do in order to protect your family and loved ones would be to strictly follow quarantine recommendations and do self isolation.

Once your doctor has cleared you from quarantine, you must still continue to be vigilant about protecting yourself and others. Do not go out without wearing a mask, never let “outside” items in the house unless they have already been disinfected, and take a bath immediately after going back home. These are just some of the new rules that COVID-19 has imposed in almost every household in our country. However, the transmission is still possible. As long as we go out, talk to people, and touch contaminated objects, the risk remains.

Typical Recovery Time of COVID-19 Patients

As mentioned, recovery is different for every individual and depends on the type of illness that you have. Here is an overview for each classification: 

  • Mild Symptoms – Patients who get mild symptoms typically recover within 7 to 14 days. Experts say it will feel like recovering from flu or other respiratory viral infection. It is important to follow your doctors quarantine recommendations even if your symptoms have improved.
  • Moderate Symptoms – If you develop moderate symptoms, which often require hospitalization for management of pneumonia, your road to recovery may take several weeks. Additionally, you may still expect to have residual cough and fatigue.
  • Severe Symptoms – A person who experiences severe symptoms or those who have become critical cases may find themselves confined in the ICU. They may even require the support of a ventilator. Recovery time takes anywhere from several weeks to months.

Now that you know about the typical recovery time, it is time to understand what happens after recovery from COVID-19.

What Happens After Recovery from COVID?

To understand what happens after recovery from COVID, you must first ascertain when you will be called a “recovered” patient. A patient is said to have recovered from COVID-19 if their symptoms clear out, and their doctor has cleared them from quarantine. Negative swab tests are no longer a basis for recovery.

Asymptomatic people and those who have experienced only mild to moderate symptoms may get their pre-illness lung functions without a problem. However, those who needed ventilators may expect scarring and permanent lung damage. Generally, this means that while their lungs may get better, they will not be able to get their pre-illness lung functions back.

Other People’s Experience after Recovering from COVID-19

Some people have voiced their experiences as to what happens after recovery from COVID. Here are some of the things they experienced:

  • Heart attack due to blood clotting
  • Kidney failure that needs dialysis
  • Need for oxygen even after going home
  • Digestion problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Acute bronchitis attacks several times a month
  • Feeling of exhaustion while doing simple activities, like walking
  • Swelling of legs and feet
  • Pains and aches all over the body

Please note that the above conditions were from people who posted their experiences online. Hello Doctor cannot attest to their authenticity.

Does COVID-19 Ever Really Leave the Body?

After symptoms of COVID-19 resolve, you may still be contagious. Evidence suggests that even after being asymptomatic for 3 days, you will still “spread” a small amount of virus in the respiratory droplets. Further studies are needed to ascertain how long the virus stays in the respiratory droplets after recovery and whether or not they can still infect others.. Another study indicated that the coronavirus stays in a person’s stool for about a week or two after recovering.

Because of this, people who are recovering from the virus are still required to observe precautionary measures to prevent possible transmission. This includes home quarantine, wearing face masks, regular hand washing, and no sharing of personal items with others. The healthcare worker assigned in your case will most probably guide you on the policies and correct practices.

Recovery Rate in the Philippines

As of this writing, with over 30,000 confirmed cases, the number of recovered patients is 8,143. This accounts for a recovery rate of 26.5%. This figure is considerably lower than the recovery rates in our neighboring countries. For instance, Thailand has a recovery rate of 95.9% for its 3,151 confirmed cases. Singapore has 35,590 recoveries out of more than 41,000 confirmed cases. That accounts for a recovery rate of 84.1%. However, local figures are influenced by the factors such as under reporting due to manpower constraints.

What happens after recovering from COVID depends on a lot of factors. Your vulnerability and how mild or severe your symptoms are will affect your recovery. With this in mind, it is still best to be careful. Practice measures that will strengthen your immunity and prevent the spread of infection.

Learn more about COVID-19 here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Ika Villanueva Caperonce, MD

Infectious Disease · Makati Medical Center

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Jun 28, 2021

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