Coronavirus questions answered: How long can you be asymptomatic?

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Dr. Manny Alvarez, Fox News's senior managing editor for health news, appeared on "Special Report with Bret Baier" where he answered questions regarding coronavirus testing.

CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Question: Unless you take all of the precautions, wearing a mask properly, washing your hands properly, knowing how to take gloves off properly, there is the potential for infection. So I think that all this screaming about testing is setting up a straw man just for criticism. What are your thoughts?

"That's why a lot of the focusing has been to test people who have symptoms and people that are very vulnerable," Alvarez said. "I get calls every day, you know, 'Can I get tested? Can I get tested?' And then I'd say, well, for what? You know, because you, you're negative today and 72 hours later, you can turn out to be positive. So we have to be careful with this concept of testing."

"I think that vulnerable people, people in high-risk places and definitely folks that are having symptoms should be tested for the coronavirus," Alvarez added.

Question: How long can you be asymptomatic and still be a carrier of COVID-19? Does it run its course like a normal virus might after 15 days or even six weeks?

"Asymptomatic folks, just like the word says, they have no symptoms and they can carry the virus. Well, we still don't know. But I would argue it would be a set number of days, perhaps 14, 15, 16 days that those people can be infectious. And that's the big trick that we have. Because you have asymptomatic people, let's say they're outside. They don't take precautions and they can inadvertently infect somebody," Alvarez explained. "So I think as we get more information, you're going to see that more readily available and better decisions will be made in the future. But yeah, I would say 14, 15 days, if you test positive."

"You still have to be very, very careful about, you know, infecting others," Alvarez added.

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Question: If you test positive in the antibodies test, can you still carry, transmit the virus? 

"The antibody test is still a work in progress as far as I'm concerned. You know, we don't know if the antibody test is also going to show positive antibodies for other coronaviruses. Remember that the common cold is a coronavirus-type of a virus," Alvarez said. "So you can argue that if you test positive, let's say, without having symptoms, if you randomly left the house and you have your antibody testing and they came back positive that those antibodies may not reflect something that happened within, not with another coronavirus."