Doctors and scientists are learning new things about this virus every day. So far, we know that COVID-19 may not cause any symptoms for some people. You may carry the virus for 2 days or up to 2 weeks before you develop symptoms.
Some common symptoms that have been specifically linked to COVID-19 include:
. shortness of breath
. a cough that gets more severe over time
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Less common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
. repeated shaking with chills
. sore throat
. muscle aches and pains
. loss of taste or smell
. a stuffy or runny nose
. gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
. discoloration of fingers or toes
. pink eye
However, individuals with COVID-19 may have some, all, or none of the above symptoms. For instance, fever is often referred to as the most common symptom of COVID-19. However, a July 2020 study of 213 people with mild disease found that only 11.6 percent of them had experienced fever.
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COVID-19 Symptoms Usually Show Up in This Order
Most people with COVID-19 will only have a mild case.
According to the National Institute of Health’s COVID-19 treatment guidelines, people are characterized as having a mild case if they:
. have any of the typical symptoms of COVID-19 (such as cough, fatigue, or loss of taste or smell)
. don’t have shortness of breath or abnormal chest imaging
Mild cases can still have long-lasting effects. People who experience symptoms months after first contracting the virus — and after the virus is no longer detectable in their body — are referred to as long haulers.
According to a February 2021 research letter in JAMA Network Open, approximately one-third of people with COVID-19 had persistent symptoms as long as 9 months after infection.
A December 2020 literature review estimated that 17 percent of people with COVID-19 are actually asymptomatic. This means they have no symptoms at all.
Twenty percent of people who have COVID-19 and require any sort of senior care services are asymptomatic. The authors evaluated data from 13 studies to come up with their estimates.
A January 2021 literature review looked at 61 studies and reports about COVID-19. The researchers concluded that:
. At least one-third of all cases are asymptomatic.
. Almost 75 percent of people who are asymptomatic when they receive a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result will remain asymptomatic. PCR tests include nasal swab tests.
Call emergency medical services if you have or someone you care for has any of the following symptoms:
. trouble breathing
. blue lips or a blue face
. persistent pain or pressure in the chest
. excessive drowsiness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still investigating the full range of symptoms.