A new coronavirus was discovered in 2019 as the cause of a disease outbreak which the epicenter is China. The virus is now known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), while the disease it causes is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The novel coronavirus has been widespread in more than 150 countries and the U.S. has registered more than 8,000 cases and nearly 129 fatalities.
U.S. public health groups including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are monitoring the dire situation and posting news on their websites.
The most common symptom among patients infected is a fever.
It normally takes about five to six days for a person to show symptoms after becoming infected by the virus. However, some people who have contracted the virus remain asymptomatic or do not show any symptoms.
Two studies from the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University and Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital revealed that the earliest and most common symptoms of the coronavirus are a fever and a cough.
"You have mild cases, which look like the common cold, which have some respiratory symptoms, sore throat, runny nose, fever, all the way through pneumonia. And there can be varying levels of severity of pneumonia all the way through multi-organ failure and death," according to Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who leads the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme.
The Wuhan University research study revealed that other symptoms include muscle pain, fatigue, and trouble breathing. Less common symptoms include vomiting, headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea.
Twenty-two-year-old Bjonda Haliti in a series of tweets was diagnosed with coronavirus had penned an invaluable day-by-day diary of her symptoms. This was for the welfare of young people for them to be aware of the reality of the pandemic as it spreads all over the globe.
Day 1 started with some dry cough and a mildly sore throat. The next day, she felt a lot of pressure in her head until she would have to cough softly to avoid the discomfort. At night, she experienced the chills and had a fever.
In another study from China, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and/or abdominal discomfort may appear a couple of days before respiratory symptoms show.
In the early days of infection, the coronavirus invades lung cells.
On Day 5, the patient may experience difficulty in breathing, known as dyspnea, which is more likely if they have a preexisting health condition or older.
Day 7 is when the patient is admitted to a hospital, the Wuhan University study found.
On Day 8, a patient with a severe case develops signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
On Day 10, a patient with aggravating breathing problems will typically enter into an intensive care unit.
On Day 17, on average, a person who recovers from the coronavirus is discharged from the hospital after 2.5 weeks.
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