Coronavirus Symptoms (COVID-19)


Last updated on: February 29 2020, 4:40 GMT - We will continue to update as soon as possible and improve this page as we gather new information, statistics and details.

Reported Coronavirus illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.
Some of the Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Typical Symptoms of Coronavirus

COVID-19 usually causes flu like symptoms including fever, sore throat and cough.

In some patients, particularly the elderly and some others with other chronic health conditions, these symptoms can take the form of pneumonia. They can also experience it with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

COVID-19 symptoms seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

After a week of experiencing the first symptoms, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment and care.

Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat. Sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold rather than Coronavirus.

80% of Coronavirus Cases are Mild

Based on all of 72,315 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases in China as of February 11, 2020, a paper was released by the Chinese CCDC on February 17, 2020. It was published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology. The paper concluded that:

  • 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home itself.
  • 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
  • 4.7% are critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
  • in about 2% of reported cases the Corona virus is fatal.
  • Risk of death is high for the older people.
  • Relatively very few cases are seen among children or young people.

Pre-existing Conditions of patients

Pre-existing illnesses that can put a patient at a higher risk are:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • chronic respiratory
  • disease
  • hypertension

That said, some healthy people also do seem to develop a severe form of pneumonia after being infected by the Corona virus. Doctors are trying to investigate what could be the common parameter or condition as they try to learn more about this new virus(COVID-19).

Examples of Development of Symptoms in some patients (from actual cases):

A man in his 40s in Japan:

  • Day #1: malaise and muscle pain
  • later diagnosed with pneumonia

A man in his 60s in Japan:

  • Day #1: initial symptoms of low fever and sore throat

A man in his 40s in Japan:

  • Day #1: fever, chills, sweating and malaise
  • Day #4: fever, muscle pain and cough

A woman in her 70s, in Japan:

  • Day #1: 38° C fever for a few minutes
  • Day #2,3: went on a bus tour
  • Day #5: visited a medical institution in Japan
  • Day #6: later showed symptoms of pneumonia.

A woman in her 40s, in Japan:

  • Day #1: low-grade fever
  • Day #2: 38° C fever
  • Day #6: being treated at home in isolation

A man in his 60s, in Japan:

  • Day #1: Cold
  • Day #6: Fever of 39° C
  • Day #8: Pneumonia

Another patient, in China with a history of type 2 diabetes and hypertension:

  • Jan. 22: Fever and cough
  • Feb. 5: Died

First death in the Philippines (a 44-year-old Chinese thought to have had other pre-existing health conditions):

  • Jan. 25: Fever, cough, and sore throat, he was hospitalized
  • Developed severe pneumonia
  • Feb. 2: Died

How long do the symptoms for the Coronavirus last?

The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on February 28, 2020 by WHO, which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases over the globe, observed the following median time from symptoms onset to clinical recovery in patient cases:

  • 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.

Symptoms observed in hospitalized patients with Coronavirus

Below are the list of symptoms, with percentages showing the proportion of patients displaying that symptom, as observed in hospitalized patients tested and identified as having laboratory confirmed Corona Virus infection. These findings refer to serious or critical cases only. The majority of Coronavirus cases (about 80%) is mild.

According to the Wang et al study published on JAMA and also based on 138 hospitalized patients.

Common symptoms included:
Fever98.6%
Fatigue69.6%
Dry Cough59.4%

The median time observed:

  • from first symptom to → Dyspnea (Shortness of breath) = 5.0 days
  • from first symptom to → Hospital admission = 7.0 days
  • from first symptom to → ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) = 8.0 days (when occurring)

Full list of symptoms from the Wang study:

From: Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China - JAMA, Wang et al., February 7, 2020

Findings from the Huang et al study published on The Lancet and based on 41 hospitalized patients due to COVID-19

COMMON SYMPTOMS AT ONSET OF ILLNESS (Huang et al study)
Fever98.6%
Cough76%
Myalgia (muscle pain) or Fatigue44%
LESS COMMON SYMPTOMS
Sputum production (coughing up material)28%
Headache8%
Haemoptysis (coughing up blood)5%
Diarrhea3%

Findings from the Chen et al study published on The Lancet and based on 99 hospitalized patients due to COVID-19

Signs and symptoms at admission (Chen et al study)
Fever83%
Cough82%
Shortness of breath31%
Muscle ache11%
Confusion9%
Headache8%
Sore Throat5%
Rhinorrhoea (runny nose)4%
Chest pain2%
Diarrhea2%
Nausea and vomiting1%

TOTAL CASES5,978,967 TOTAL DEATHS364,576 TOTAL RECOVERED2,631,586 CHINA82,995 INDIA173,458 US1,782,884 ITALY232,248 BRAZIL443,876 QATAR52,907 FRANCE186,835 IRELAND24,876 NORWAY8,422 BAHRAIN10,449 ISRAEL16,987 AUSTRALIA7,173 IRAN146,668 INDONESIA25,216 SINGAPORE33,860 ICELAND1,805 CZECHIA9,180 SLOVENIA1,473 GERMANY182,917 BELGIUM58,061 IRAQ5,873 POLAND23,155 SPAIN285,644 NETHERLANDS46,126 DENMARK11,593 PHILIPPINES16,634 FINLAND6,776 SWEDEN36,476 THAILAND3,076 SWITZERLAND30,828 ROMANIA18,982 ESTONIA1,859 PORTUGAL31,946 MALAYSIA7,732 AUSTRIA16,655 UK271,222 GREECE2,909 JAPAN16,683