From Loss Of Smell To 'COVID Toes': What Experts Are Learning About Symptoms8 May, 2020
When the coronavirus pandemic first emerged, public health officials told the world to watch out for its telltale symptoms: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. But as the virus has spread across the globe, researchers have developed a more nuanced picture of how symptoms of infection can manifest themselves, especially in milder cases.
We're getting a "better understanding of how these symptoms express in the general population and not necessarily in hospitalized patients," which is whom most of the earlier studies from China looked at. "So it's a bit of a bigger picture," says Charitini Stavropoulou, an associate professor in health services research at City, University of London in the U.K., who led an analysis of known symptoms in milder cases as part of a collaboration with Oxford University.
Some of these symptoms, such as loss of smell or taste, are highly distinctive and a strong indicator of infection. Others, like headaches, chills or sore throat, are common to lots of illnesses. So how do you know when a symptom is cause to seek medical advice or testing? We asked doctors and public health and infectious disease researchers for their insights.