June 25, 2020

Study confirms most prevalent symptoms of COVID-19

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

In this study, researchers from five universities confirm that a persistent cough and fever are the most prevalent symptoms of adults infected with COVID-19. However, there is a large proportion of people who have the virus but do not display symptoms.

Among the findings of this analysis of 148 studies that include more than 24,000 patients from nine countries:


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  • 78% had a fever, though this varied across countries, with 72% in Singapore and 32% in South Korea
  • 57% reported a cough, which varied across countries, with 76% in the Netherlands and 18% in South Korea
  • 31% had fatigue
  • 25% lost the ability to smell
  • 23% had difficulty breathing
  • 17% needed noninvasive help with breathing
  • 19% were admitted to ICU
  • 9% required ventilators
  • 2% needed extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation.

The findings of this analysis are important because it can help ensure that people who are symptomatic are quarantined, and it can help determine who should get tested, the authors say.

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