The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 177 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan).
Typical Symptoms COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms including fever and cough. In some patients – particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions – these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath. It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough. After a week, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment.
Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.
80% of cases are mild Based on all 72,314 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases in China as of February 11, a paper by the Chinese CCDC released on February 17 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology has found that:
- 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
- 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
- 4.7% as critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
- in about 2% of reported cases, the virus is fatal.
- The risk of death increases the older you are.
- Relatively few cases are seen among children.
Pre-existing conditionsPre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk:
- cardiovascular disease
- chronic respiratory disease
That said, some otherwise healthy people do seem to develop a severe form of pneumonia after being infected by the virus. The reason for this is being investigated as we try to learn more about this new virus. How long do symptoms last? Using available preliminary data, the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO,  which is based on 55,924 laboratory-confirmed cases, observed the following median time from symptoms onset to clinical recovery:
- mild cases: approximately 2 weeks
- severe or critical disease: 3 – 6 weeks
- time from onset to the development of severe disease (including hypoxia): 1 week
Among patients who have died, the time from symptom onset to outcome ranges from 2 – 8 weeks.
INFORMATION ON CORONAVIRUS SYMPTOMS FROM GOVERNMENT HEALTH OFFICIALS
CANADA PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY
The Canadian PHAC section dedicated to the 2019 novel coronavirus states that:
- You may have little to no symptoms.
- You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
- Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. This is the longest known infectious period for this virus.
Symptoms have included:
- difficulty breathing
- pneumonia in both lungs
In severe cases, the infection can lead to death.
UK GOVERNMENT AND NHS
The UK National Health Service (NHS) section dedicated to Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) lists the following as the main symptoms of coronavirus:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
UNITED STATES CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
The CDC has published the following infographic on its Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV):
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
The WHO has issued an interim guidance on the clinical management of suspected cases in which it says that
- “nCoV may present with mild, moderate, or severe illness; the latter include severe pneumonia, ARDS, sepsis, and septic shock.”