Cough, fever and shortness of breath are the most widely reported symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to global and U.S. data, however, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its list of known COVID-19 symptoms.
Previously, the CDC listed cough, shortness of breath and fever as the primary symptoms, but now the list includes six new symptoms, including chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell.
The new guidelines come as the U.S. death toll from the virus reached more than 55,100 Monday, with more than 972,000 cases across the country.
The CDC recommends seeking immediate medical attention if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face. Symptoms can appear between two to 14 days after exposure to the illness, according to the CDC.
Recent reports show some COVID-19 patients are experiencing a loss of taste and smell. There have been several studies about the link between sensory impairment and the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Dr. Steven Munger, director of the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste, explained why the virus could be connected to the loss of these senses.
“One is that the virus is using the sensory cells in the nose that are responding to odors to enter the brain and affect brain function," Munger said. “We don’t know if that’s the case, but it’s a possibility. Another is that the virus attacks those sensory nerve cells themselves, the ones that detect odors, and either disrupts their function or kills them.”
Munger is one of more than 400 sensory experts from around the world studying this potential link as part of the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Researchers study.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people who are infected recover.
However, U.S. health officials say many who have the virus will never show symptoms or know they are contagious.
The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 25% of infected people might not have symptoms. The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. John Hyten, thinks it may be as high as 60% to 70% among military personnel.