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Coronavirus (Image: CSIRO)

What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus? It’s a question we’re all furiously typing into our search engines. 

A need to clear the throat arises, and we feel gripped with fear. A dripping nose, and we dismiss the fact we have allergies and focus only on the worst-case scenario. 

If you are worried that you are showcasing the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, it is important to remain calm, and only go to reputable sources for information.


Common Questions

  • What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus?
  • Why do some people who have coronavirus not display any signs or symptoms?

What are the signs and symptoms of coronavirus?


Today we want to provide you with verified, non-fear-mongering facts regarding coronavirus.

Common signs and symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Some patients report other signs and symptoms of coronavirus, which include: 

  • Fatigue
  • Body aches and pains
  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste.

Source: Mayo Clinic


Why do some people who have coronavirus not display any signs or symptoms?

One of the worrying things about coronavirus is that some patients do not exhibit signs and symptoms. This increases the likelihood of unexplained transmission. Coronavirus does not discriminate; it can affect anyone at any age, but it can affect people differently. 

There are a few factors that determine why some people who have tested positive to coronavirus do not have any signs or symptoms:

  • Age
  • Health status 
  • Genetics.

Age

People over the age of 70 are at a higher risk of contracting severe symptoms of COVID-19, whether they have a pre-existing health condition or not.

It is important to note there are severe cases of coronavirus among younger people who have no comorbidities, however, the risk of symptoms developing to the point of requiring hospitalisation is higher in the ageing population, and there is an increased likelihood of health complications in those over the age of 65 according to Harvard Health.

Health status 

While there is still debate around whether or not a patient’s current health status will determine the severity of their symptoms, it is widely agreed certain health conditions may make symptoms of coronavirus more severe.

These health conditions include: asthma; diabetes; a weakened immune system by cause of treatment for HIV, AIDS or cancer; a BMI of over 40; heart disease; kidney disease; liver disease; spleen damage; neurological conditions, such as motor neuron disease; Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis (MS); a learning disability; or cerebral palsy.

Genetics 

Research is ongoing to uncover why some people get extremely sick from coronavirus, while others experience mild symptoms and then quickly recover. To date, research has shown certain genetic mutations can put people at higher risk for infectious diseases, while others offer greater protection. Genetics, coupled with the viral load, or the volume of the virus that people are infected with, will help scientists understand why the virus can be more fatal for some and not others.


It is difficult to understand why some people with coronavirus do not have any symptoms. It is even more challenging to nail down the number of how many people are infected with coronavirus but are asymptomatic, because those without symptoms are less likely to get tested, and some testing criteria states that only those with symptoms can get tested. A BMJ study, worryingly, suggested 78% of those infected in China did not showcase any signs or symptoms. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 83-99% of those infected with coronavirus will experience fever; 59-82% will experience a cough; 44-70% will experience fatigue; 40-84% will experience anorexia; 31-40% will experience shortness of breath; 28-33% will experience sputum production (lung disease or damage); and 11-35% will experience myalgias (muscle aches and pains).

The incubation period, which is the period between contracting the virus and exhibiting symptoms is between two and 14 days. The median time for experiencing symptoms of the virus is four to five days according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If you are concerned that you may have coronavirus, try not to panic. Call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for the next steps on what to do.

Read next: Coronavirus Statistics | When will lockdown end?

Peter Fray

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