When a person is exposed to an infection, it takes few days before symptoms appear. This period between exposure to infection and the development of symptoms is called as incubation period. Based on research studies and clinical evidence, it is found that incubation period for Coronavirusmay be anywhere from 2 to 14 days. The median incubation period is determined as 5.1 days. Most of the affected persons develop symptoms within 5-7 days. Almost all patients develop symptoms within 14 days. Only 101 out of every 10,000 exposed individuals may develop symptoms beyond 14 days. This is considered as a rare situation.
So, if an individual is exposed to Coronavirus infection, he or she develops symptoms within 14 days. If there are no symptoms within 14 days of the exposure, the affected individuals are considered non-infective and they may be cleared from quarantine. Hence people who have Coronavirus exposure are recommended 14 days of quarantine so that they do not spread the virus to other people in the community.
Ann Intern Med. 2020. Lauer SA, Grantz KH, Bi Q, et al. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. [Epub ahead of print 10 March 2020]. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-0504
J Clin Med. 2020 Feb 17;9(2). pii: E538. doi: 10.3390/jcm9020538. Linton NM, et al. Incubation Period and Other Epidemiological Characteristics of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Infections with Right Truncation: A Statistical Analysis of Publicly Available Case Data.