According to the CDC
, coronavirus symptoms take between 2 to 14 days to manifest after exposure — meaning that an infected individual might not even realize that they’re sick at first, making them more likely to expose other, more vulnerable members of the population to the virus. With as many as 20 to 60 percent of American adults
poised to contract COVID-19, according to some estimates, slowing that rate of infection will be critical in order to give medical professionals a fighting chance to care for anyone sick. The alternative way this could go is not a bright picture: hospitals could end up so overwhelmed by new patients that they’re forced to turn individuals away, or a shortage of resources, like ventilators
, that leaves sick people vulnerable.