During this social distancing that we're implementing, what happens to someone who, for example, is asymptomatic (i.e. has no symptoms) but is infected? Given "enough time", say, 2 weeks, does the coronavirus in his / her body get killed off by white blood cells? Does the virus die on its own?

Can it live in the infected person's body for much longer, say, 6 months?

I am amazed that such basic questions and answers aren't communicated to us on the news -- we're simply told to practice social distancing for a while, without being told more specifics about how the disease goes away ...

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    "I am amazed that such basic questions and answers aren't communicated to us on the news" - Why do you think that might be? Given how recent this virus has been discovered...
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 1:59
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    There's a great deal more to the repertoire of the immune system than the "white blood cells", most of the general public don't possess much of a grounding in immunology and any broad explanation is going to necessarily lack such details. The specific variant is still under investigation, we couldn't offer much beyond guesswork at the moment. Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 2:08
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    FIY: This is a very informative video about the virus and the effect on the body: youtube.com/watch?v=BtN-goy9VOY Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 8:31

1 Answer 1


It's a virus. and patients recover because the immune system creates antibodies to dismantle the virus, and prevent it from re-infecting other cells. However, many viruses the body can not clear such as hepatitis B, C, HIV, and H. Zoster. The fact that patients are recovering indicates that they are largely clearing the virus though there are sporadic reports of relapses with virus being detected again on re-testing but we don't know if this is a methodology issue or not.

With more data and time we can answer the question more accurately.


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