Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Rely On A Negative COVID Test To see Your Family For Thanksgiving

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read our disclosure policy here

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and if you think your recent negative COVID-19 test is going to be your ticket to see your family this year, think again…

According to doctors, it can take days for a newly contracted infection to show up on a COVID-19 test. This means, you could have it, test negative and further spread it without knowing.


“We know that the incubation period for Covid-19 is up to 14 days. And before that, you can be testing negative, and have no symptoms,” “But you could actually be harboring the virus and be able to transmit it to others.”

Emergency medicine physician Dr. Leana Wen

Yeah, I am pretty sure NONE of us want to unintentionally harm another family member over a dry ass turkey. I mean, I sure don’t.

So, let’s say you went out shopping yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner, got infected and then took a COVID-19 test today, tomorrow or even this coming week and you are negative. Does that mean you are negative?

Apparently, no.

A study in the medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine examined false-negative test results of people who actually had Covid-19.

The study estimated that during four days of infection before symptoms typically started, the probability of getting an incorrect/negative test result on Day 1 was 100%. Three days after symptoms started, the false-negative rate dropped to 20%.

So, you can see how each day can be crucial to ensuring your COVID test is actually false and not a false negative.

Now you might be wondering how many days should a person wait after possible exposure to get tested? There’s a professional answer for that too…

“There is no hard and fast rule, but the evidence suggests getting a test before the third day after exposure is not of much use,”

Justin Lessler, a senior author of the study and associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Now, if you really think you need to be with family this Thanksgiving, it seems the ONLY way to know for sure that you are not infected is to self-quarantine for 14 days leading up to Thanksgiving (or any family gathering).

That means no grocery stores, errands, quick visit with friends, etc.

But ya know, at this point, we are a little past that. So, be safe and if you really don’t want to take a chance, skip the traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this year and stay home.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *