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These are the 4 coronavirus symptoms you need to watch out for

Published Aug 7th, 2020 3:02PM EDT
Coronavirus Symptoms
Image: sergo321/Adobe

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  • Coronavirus patients have reported a variety of COVID-19 symptoms since the illness first emerged in China, but the symptoms alone aren’t good enough for a clinical diagnosis.
  • While a PCR test is needed to confirm a COVID-19 infection, a combination of four symptoms may be indicative of coronavirus infection.
  • The New York Times put together an infographic that presents all the possible COVID-19 related symptoms, including the most common and the rarest ones.

The novel coronavirus is a tiny spec of invisible genetic material resting inside a capsule with spike proteins on the exterior that give it a crown-like appearance. Hence the generic name of this family of viruses — “corona.” But the virus is incredibly devious and it’s able to spread covertly inside large groups of people who don’t take the necessary precautions. We say “covertly” because the symptoms can take weeks to develop if they even show up at all. And when the signs of infection do finally turn up, they’re not enough to confirm it’s COVID-19. That’s why testing is necessary to establish the presence of the virus.

There is one fairly unique symptom that’s indicative of a COVID-19 infection, and that’s the sudden loss of smell and taste. The problem is that not all people experience it. Now, a new report says that the combination of four symptoms might be highly indicative of COVID-19. Even then, a PCR test is still required to confirm the diagnosis.

A beautifully made The New York Times infographic goes through all the known symptoms, taking into account various studies on the matter. The report looks at all the symptoms that COVID-19 patients can experience, which have been cataloged by various public health authorities such as the CDC and the WHO. It also explains how each symptom presents in both adults and children.

The Times notes that fever, the loss of taste or smell, a dry cough, and fatigue are prevalent among COVID-19 patients. These signs may appear over the course of several days, much slower than the flu. We’ve been comparing COVID-19 with the flu since the early days of the illness when this new contagious disease seemed to be just like influenza. But as days turned into weeks and months, we all learned that the novel coronavirus isn’t anything like the flu. It’s not just the onset of symptoms, but also the complications that can emerge in severe COVID-19 cases. The mortality rate is also much higher than the flu.

The report also lists several other COVID-19 symptoms that are less specific to this particular disease, including headache, dizziness or impaired thinking, eye discomfort, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, wet cough, severe shortness of breath at rest, tightness in the chest, feeling out of breath with activity, rashes, diarrhea and abdominal pain, blisters on toes and fingers, severe muscle and joint paint, chills and body aches, and blood clots.

The entire Times report is worth going through, as it gives a complete rundown of symptoms over anatomical images of the human body. That way, it may be easier to comprehend the complexity of the virus and the way it can attack the entire body, not just the lungs. The interactive report also comes with a variety of useful links to existing studies about the various COVID-19 symptoms.

As a reminder, be sure to check out the CDC official list of COVID-19 symptoms so you know what sort of signs have been associated with the new disease. Always contact your doctor if you think you may have been infected.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.