Since COVID cases are down, the government has eased on restrictions, like the wearing of face masks indoors. But some people believe that just because they never tested positive for COVID, it is because the disease is just a hoax imposed upon gullible people. It is far from the truth because of the following reasons:
Reason 1: They Avoided High-Risk Environments
Some people may have been able to avoid being in high-risk environments more than others, either because they just got lucky or because they had the privilege of having the option to work remotely or drive their own car rather than take public transport. As a result, they may never have been exposed in a way that would lead to infection.
Reason 2: They Were Asymptomatic
It’s possible that a portion of the people who have never tested positive did have COVID at some point, but simply didn’t know it because they had no symptoms and never got tested during a time when they would have tested positive. People with asymptomatic cases are also more likely to receive a negative result on antigen tests, according to the CDC, so even if they did get screened for COVID, they may have received a false negative.
Reason 3: They Have Built-up Immunity
If you had an asymptomatic case of COVID that you never tested positive for, then later were exposed to COVID, you might have enough immunity to avoid contracting the virus again.
Reason 4: They Are Vaccinated
If a vaccinated person is exposed to the virus, they have a very good chance of avoiding contracting COVID altogether. We know vaccination doesn’t guarantee you won’t get COVID, especially with new variants like omicron, but it does lower your risk.
Reason 5: They Received A False Negative
The available COVID tests are very accurate, but they’re not perfect. Some rapid at-home tests are less sensitive to COVID variants like omicron or BA.2, for instance. Others may not pick up very mild or asymptomatic cases, or if there is a lower viral load in the body.
These five reasons can help explain why some people have never had a positive COVID-19 test. But is it possible for someone to be naturally resistant to the infection – to have some kind of innate immunity?
It is also thought that people resistant to SARS-CoV-2 might have very powerful immune responses, especially in the cells lining the insides of their noses. It’s also likely that several factors play into resistance. The idea of learning from those who seem to be immune to COVID is exciting.
There’s no guarantee that you won’t ever get infected, especially with possibly new variants emerging globally. That’s why it’s always best to take all precautions, including getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a mask in indoor settings (even if no one else is) and when feeling unwell, practicing social distancing and safe hand hygiene, and getting tested if you have any symptoms or after being exposed. By Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail October 31-November 6, 2022 issue)