ORLANDO, Fla. – Every day, the Florida Department of Health releases numbers showing how many people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 along with a breakdown including the death toll and hospitalizations.
That data, however, does not include how many people who tested positive in the past month and have since recovered and returned to their normal lives.
“We do not currently measure ‘recovery,’ and don’t expect to have such a designation anytime in the near future. Recovery can mean a lot of things – some countries say you’re recovered 14 days from infection even if you are still sick, or even dead, based on a computer algorithm that calculates the amount of time passed since a case is first reported. The very definition of recovery is a contested issue – are you recovered once you’re no longer symptomatic, or contagious, once you get a negative test result, or no longer require hospitalization? Are you ever ‘recovered’ if you suffer long-term effects from having the virus? Until some of these issues and definitions are worked out at the local, state and national level, we will not be providing a metric for recovery,” the FDOH wrote on its website.
One organization that does track recoveries is the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, although the numbers from Florida are missing from its figures.
According to the organization’s global coronavirus tracker, embedded below, millions of people have recovered worldwide after testing positive for coronavirus.
To see the recovery column on the right, you’ll need to view the map on a desktop computer as it is not visible from the mobile browser view.
Then, you can scroll through the first list highlighted in green to see the recovery figures by country, including the U.S. In the next column, a state-by-state breakdown can be found, though not all states are reporting recovery numbers.
Although the FDOH doesn’t have a concrete definition of recovery, Orange County Florida Department of Health Dr. Raul Pino said there are some things doctors look for that are indicative of a patient being well again:
- For anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must be at least seven days from when they first developed symptoms, Pino said. Most people develop symptoms within seven days after being exposed to the virus but they can also appear up to 14 days from exposure, according to the CDC.
- Next, the patient needs to go 72 hours without a fever. The most common symptoms are fever and a dry cough. Their symptoms in general should be diminishing.
- Finally, a COVID-19 patient will need to take a coronavirus test twice and test negative both times within 24 hours.
Because the first instances of coronavirus were detected in Florida on March 1, it’s likely some of the patients who were diagnosed in those early days are no longer experiencing symptoms or receiving treatment.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, most people come down with a fever and dry cough between two and 14 days after being exposed. From there, it takes one to two weeks for patients with mild cases to start feeling better. For those with more severe cases, it could take six weeks or more.