What is COVID rebound?

Infectious Diseases

COVID rebound is like watching an encore to a show you disliked the first time. Just when you’re feeling better, COVID comes back, and you’re feeling crummy again.

➡️ The good news is that rebound cases are usually mild.

➡️ The bad news is that they can be contagious.

So, if you notice new COVID symptoms a few days after you feel well (and tested negative), it could be a rebound infection. Wind your COVID clock back to day 0 (sorry!), and bust out those tests and masks.

The average rebound timeline is: Day 5-7 (round 1 ends: feeling better, neg test), Day 9-13 (round 2 begins: feeling worse, pos test), Day 16-19 (round 2 ends: feeling better, neg test).

The risk of rebound varies a lot depending on who we’re talking about. It’s rare in adults without health risk factors. It’s relatively common in other groups, including people who are immunocompromised or have other conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. obesity, diabetes, chronic lung, kidney, liver and heart conditions).

🧐Nerd note: The term “Paxlovid rebound” took off in 2022, fueled by reports of people who took antivirals (Paxlovid) and experienced rebound. It now seems that “Paxlovid rebound” is a misnomer. According to the latest CDC review of seven scientific studies, COVID rebound is just as likely whether or not you take antiviral drugs. The likely explanation for rebound reports is that people who take Paxlovid are naturally at higher risk of rebound (since rebound is most common in people at risk of severe COVID).

😾PS Do you remember the silly children’s song: The Cat Came Back? I’ve got “the COVID came back, the very next day” stuck in my head!


CDC study (Dec 2023): SARS-CoV-2 Rebound With and Without Use of COVID-19 Oral Antivirals CDC

Yale Medicine overview of COVID rebound
Yale School of Medicine

Risk factors for severe COVID-19

Stay safe. Stay well!
Those Nerdy Girls

Link to Original FB Post