With the Coronavirus spreading rapidly across the globe, people are curious about how they can contract the illness. Can you get Coronavirus from kissing someone or having sex with them? The short answer is yes.
Dr. Rachel Graham, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, tells Heavy, “There’s no evidence that coronaviruses are transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids, but the virus can be found in respiratory secretions, so any intimate contact can be a risk. If you or your partner have respiratory symptoms or a fever, or if you have had known contact with an infected individual, it’s best to abstain until you feel better and/or you are tested for evidence of viral infection.”
The issue here, of course, is that it can take days– sometimes up to five or six– for symptoms to show.
Asked what preventative measures she recommends people take when it comes to intimacy with a stranger or partner, Dr. Graham tells Heavy, “The very best practices would be using the same precautions that people are taking with community contacts: wash your hands, avoid touching surfaces of unknown cleanliness when possible or wash your hands use hand sanitizer if you have it. That’s likely asking too much of intimate partners, though, so I would say be aware of your own health and keep advised of your partner’s. If you start to feel unwell or know you have been in contact with someone who is sick, especially someone who has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, it’s best to self-isolate and use social distancing to the best extent you can.”
You Can Contract Coronavirus Simply By Being Close To Someone
As of March 9, 2020, the CDC recommends social distancing measures to help stop virus transmission. They write, “Based on what is currently known about this virus and similar coronaviruses, spread from person-to-person happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet).”
Those using the dating app Tinder may notice a new warning for users that reads, “Your wellbeing is our #1 priority. Tinder is a great place to meet new people. While we want you to continue to have fun, protecting yourself from the Coronavirus is more important.” The pop-up then goes on to recommend people wash their hands frequently, carry hand sanitizer, avoid touching their face, and maintain social distance in public gatherings.”
Coronaviruses are defined by the World Health Organization as a family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases. The strain is completely new and has not previously been identified in humans. The most common symptoms of Coronavirus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and possibly death.
Kissing Is Extremely Risky
On March 11, Vox spoke to virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen, who shared that kissing is the “riskiest” thing to do with another person right now.
Anna Muldoon, a former science policy adviser at the US Department of Health and Human Services and current PhD candidate researching the infectious disease and social crises at Arizona State University, was asked by Vox if oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, and handjobs are less risky than kissing.
She said, “Yes, that’s true. Here’s the thing, yes, kissing is probably the most efficient way to spread the virus. [Covid-19] does not appear to sexually transmit. However, all sex is close contact. You’re breathing on each other, you’re hopefully touching each other a lot. I guess I could imagine everybody showering, sanitizing yourself when you came into the house, and showering beforehand and making sure you’re never face-to-face, but it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. The short line on this is all sex is close contact. It’s the definition of close contact. So there’s no way to have it without risking transmission.”
Muldoon recommends that those living with an infected individual sleep in their own room and do their best to disinfect things they share.