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course 1 topic 3 lesson 1

What Do Mild to Severe Cases of COVID-19 Look Like?

Who Can Get COVID-19?

COVID-19 Symptoms

It is important to note that COVID-19 can be present in an individual without immediately exhibiting symptoms (pre-symptomatic phase). It can take between 2 and 14 days before symptoms arise (symptomatic phase), or they may never arise, as some people can have the virus with no symptoms at all (asymptomatic cases). 

The most common symptoms among people diagnosed with symptomatic COVID-19 include:

It is important to note that not all of these symptoms may present at the same time and not all of these symptoms may occur.

COVID-19 Symptoms

About 8 out of 10 people who get COVID-19 have a mild case–about as serious as a regular cold–and get better without needing any special treatment. In severe cases, it may lead to pneumonia, life-threatening blood clots, multi-organ failure, or even death.

Mild to Moderate Symptoms

People with a mild case of COVID-19 may have a slight fever. They may feel tired, have muscle aches and a headache. Some people say they lose their sense of smell or taste. Most people will feel better in about a week.

People with a moderate case of COVID-19 will have a fever (over 38 degrees C), a frequent cough, muscle aches and a headache. They may be a little breathless when moving around but not when sitting down. They may need to stay in bed and rest. Moderate cases of COVID-19 usually last 7-14 days.

Severe Symptoms

People with a severe case of COVID-19 will have a high fever (~40 degrees C). They will be breathless even when sitting down. They may be breathing very quickly and have to take extra breaths between words when they speak. They may feel that their chest is tight and complain of pain in their chest. They may not be able to eat. They may appear very confused. When this is the case, medical attention is needed.

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