Since doctors and researchers has been living with the coronavirus for months now, they have developed a new understanding of how typical symptoms progress in a patient.
This information could be useful to a medical professional that has been introduced to a new patient. Finding out the typical progression of coronavirus symptoms would allow medical professionals to identify the patient's stage and provide accurate treatment. Data from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control have indicated that most coronavirus cases are mild or moderate, but around 20% of them turn severe or critical.
Doctors have found that these are the most common symptoms for COVID-19 patients to develop; fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Additionally, other symptoms can be fatigue, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, and diarrhea. These symptoms don't immediately show after a person is infected as the incubation period for the virus is about five or so days.
Researchers in China have looked at thousands of coronavirus patients and have found a pattern of symptoms. It should be noted that the pattern ranges from day 1 - 27, but some COVID-19 patients, even after recovery, have reported experiences prolonged symptoms such as fatigue, more on that story here.
Typical coronavirus symptom timeline:
Day 1: Symptoms start off mild. Patients usually experience a fever, followed by a cough. A minority may have had diarrhoea or nausea one or two days before this, which could be a sign of a more severe infection.
Day 3: This is how long it took, on average, before patients in Wenzhou were admitted to the hospital after their symptoms started. A study of more than 550 hospitals across China also found that hospitalized patients developed pneumonia on the third day of their illness.
Day 5: In severe cases, symptoms could start to worsen. Patients may have difficulty breathing, especially if they are older or have a preexisting health condition.
Day 7: This is how long it took, on average, for some patients in Wuhan to be admitted to the hospital after their symptoms started. Other Wuhan patients developed shortness of breath on this day.
Day 8: By this point, patients with severe cases will have most likely developed shortness of breath, pneumonia, or acute respiratory distress syndrome, an illness that may require intubation. ARDS is often fatal.
Day 9: Some Wuhan patients developed sepsis, an infection caused by an aggressive immune response, on this day.
Days 10-11: If patients have worsening symptoms, this is the time in the disease's progression when they're likely to be admitted to the ICU. These patients probably have more abdominal pain and appetite loss than patients with milder cases.
Day 12: In some cases, patients don't develop ARDS until nearly two weeks after their illness started. One Wuhan study found that it took 12 days, on average, before patients were admitted to the ICU. Recovered patients may see their fevers resolve after 12 days.
Day 16: Patients may see their coughs resolve on this day, according to a Wuhan study.
Day 17-21: On average, people in Wuhan either recovered from the virus and were discharged from the hospital or passed away after 2.5 to 3 weeks.
Day 19: Patients may see their shortness of breath resolve on this day, according to a Wuhan study.
Day 27: Some patients stay in the hospital for longer. The average stay for Wenzhou patients was 27 days.
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