The CDC has added six new COVID-19 symptoms to its list of things to watch for. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a wide variety of reported symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after a person is infected.
Previously, only shortness of breath, fever, and a dry cough were listed as the primary symptoms of the virus. Now the CDC says other common symptoms are chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell.
Those symptoms have been widely reported but have only now been officially added to the list as doctors learn more about the effects of COVID-19 on the human body. CNN’s Chris Cuomo spoke to Dr. Sanjay Gupta earlier this month about his experience being ill from the virus. Cuomo said he had such bad chills and shook so hard that he chipped a tooth. He also spoke of hallucinations, another symptom sometimes reported by those who battled COVID-19 and their families, though that symptom is not on the CDC list.
People Who Have Recovered From COVID-19 Are Sharing Their Stories
According to Johns Hopkins University, 765,371 people have recovered from COVID-19 worldwide as of April 24. But in the U.S., where the cases are the highest of any country, the virus still continues to spread, with 884,004 confirmed cases as of this writing. So far 81,338 people in the U.S have recovered from the virus. Some who have recovered tell harrowing stories of unrelenting days of fevers, body aches and painful breathing. Others who were hospitalized report having to learn basic human functions again.
David Lat, a lawyer and founder of the blog “Above the Law,” told CNN he had to learn to breathe again after being on a ventilator for six of his 17 days in a New York hospital. “It’s not happily ever after, but it’s better than the alternative,” he said.
Leah Blomberg told CNN that after being in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator for nine days, she is learning to walk again. She said, “The recovery is probably the worst. Basically, it’s having to learn to walk again, because your muscles … it’s like you’ve never used them before.”
Stephen Thomas, the chair of infectious diseases at Upstate University Hospital, told The Atlantic, “Some people really fall off the cliff, and we don’t have good predictors of who it’s going to happen to.” Others have much better luck. Karan Mahajan, a Providence, Rhode Island-based author, told the magazine, “My case ended up feeling like a mild flu that lasted for two weeks. And then it faded after that.”
According to the CDC, it’s time to seek medical help if symptoms include “trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, or bluish lips or face.” They say this list is not all-inclusive, though, and to contact your doctor if your symptoms “seem concerning to you.”
This Is The First Time the CDC Has Updated Its COVID-19 Symptoms List
Coronavirus has quickly spread around the globe, with the first report of the virus coming out of Wuhan, China, on December 31 last year, according to the World Health Organization. As of April 24, John’s Hopkins University is reporting 2,766,611 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, with the majority of cases being in the United States and in Europe.
While the CDC’s list of symptoms has grown, there is still much to be understood about why some people get severely ill and others only have a mild illness, why some can carry the virus and have no symptoms at all while others die.
One thing that is established among so many unknowns is that “Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness,” according to the CDC, though that doesn’t mean people of all ages can’t get severely ill or die.