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What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Studies have shown that while some COVID-19 patients get only very mild symptoms or none at all, some can develop severe pneumonia and other health issues. A WHO report from February found that around 80% of patients with laboratory confirmed cases “have mild disease and recover.” Researchers are not certain how many people infected with the virus are nearly or entirely asymptomatic. “There is not a single reliable study to determine the number of [asymptomatic sufferers],” says a metastudy conducted by scientists from Oxford University, and published online on April 6. “It is likely we will only learn the true extent once population-based antibody testing is undertaken,” write the study authors. (The metastudy, which looked at 21 earlier studies from around the world, has not been peer-reviewed.) The only way to know for sure if you are infected with SARS-CoV-19, the virus that causes COVID-19, is to get tested.

According to a study of nearly 56,000 laboratory confirmed cases cited in the WHO report , the most common symptom, experienced by 88% of confirmed patients, is a fever. The other most common symptoms according to that study are, in descending order:

  • Dry cough (68%)
  • Fatigue (38%)
  • Coughing up sputum/mucus production (33%)
  • Shortness of breath (19%)
  • Joint or muscle pain (15%)
  • Sore throat (14%)
  • Headache (14%)
  • Chills (11%)
  • Nausea or vomiting (5%)
  • Nasal congestion (5%)
  • Diarrhea (3%)
  • Coughing up blood (1%)
  • Eye discharge (1%)

One thing missing from this list is anosmia, or loss of sense of smell. Anecdotal reports suggest that people with milder cases of the disease could have telltale symptoms like the loss of their sense od smell and/or taste, however the WHO has not yet added those symptoms to its official list, as the data are not yet strong enough. But an analysis of a COVID-19 symptom-tracking app in the U.K. shows 59% of the 579 users who had tested positive for the disease reported a loss of smell and taste, compared to 18% who did not have the disease.—Billy Perrigo

(Source : TIME)


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