incubation period


Definition of incubation period

: the period between the infection of an individual by a pathogen and the manifestation of the illness or disease it causes

Examples of incubation period in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Canada saw an increase of positive coronavirus tests two weeks after its holiday — the typical incubation period for COVID-19 — and experts say this trend may be foreboding for the U.S. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Will Thanksgiving cause an increase in COVID-19 cases? It did in Canada.," 17 Nov. 2020 Symptoms generally appear for the virus after an incubation period, and if a patient is tested immediately for the coronavirus after being exposed, an infection can slip under the radar. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "44.7% of Ohio’s students are in a remote learning model, as of Dec. 3," 7 Dec. 2020 Citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, which has an incubation period of two to 14 days, health officials said the information would speed efforts to reach travelers if they were exposed to the virus. Washington Post, "Delta Air Lines launches effort to improve contact tracing on international flights," 4 Dec. 2020 Experts have also said that even a negative COVID-19 test before a visit does not mean someone is free of the virus, which has an incubation period as long as two weeks. Nicholas Rondinone,, "Connecticut residents wary of Thanksgiving travel during COVID-19 pandemic, survey shows, as officials ask people to stay home," 19 Nov. 2020 The coronavirus has an incubation period of up to 14 days, so a negative test, absent a two-week quarantine, is no guarantee that a person can safely see people outside of their household without spreading the illness. oregonlive, "Oregon universities offer free testing for students ahead of Thanksgiving holiday," 17 Nov. 2020 The novel coronavirus has an incubation period of two to 14 days. Jackie Borchardt, The Enquirer, "Can Ohio's COVID-19 situation improve in one week? Not likely.," 17 Nov. 2020 Epidemiologists say that the coronavirus has an incubation period of at least two days, though three to five days is considered the most likely, and 14 is thought unlikely. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The NFL Learned the Same Lesson as Washington This Week," 4 Oct. 2020 That recommendation was made based on COVID-19′s incubation period of up to 14 days, but even a self-quarantine for two weeks isn’t foolproof, according to Huang. Dallas News, "Limit exposure, eat quietly, and mask up. Here’s what Dallas County suggests for a safe Thanksgiving," 11 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incubation period.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of incubation period

1879, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for incubation period

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The first known use of incubation period was in 1879

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Statistics for incubation period

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Incubation period.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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incubation period


Medical Definition of incubation period

: the period between the infection of an individual by a pathogen and the manifestation of the disease it causes Mono, which has an incubation period of 30 to 50 days, characteristically announces itself with headaches, fever, sore throat, tonsillitis, and extreme fatigue.Your Health & Fitness, October/November 1986 Quarantines worked to control the SARS epidemic because SARS is much less contagious than flu and has a longer incubation period.— Christine Gorman, Time, 17 Oct. 1995

More from Merriam-Webster on incubation period

Britannica English: Translation of incubation period for Arabic Speakers

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