With the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. growing, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a new list of six characteristic symptoms of the virus. The coronavirus pandemic has been sweeping the globe since December, but the U.S. is still catching up in some ways. The CDC is now clarifying some of the symptoms doctors are seeing here.
The CDC created a new, simplified list of coronavirus symptoms on its website, listing six of the most common symptoms in patients in the U.S. They are: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat and new loss of taste of smell. The CDC is asking doctors to familiarize themselves with these symptoms to ensure that they are prepared when patients come to them with COVID-19. Early detection remains one of the key factors in slowing the spread of the pandemic.
Previously, the CDC had only named three primary symptoms of COVID-19 — shortness of breath, coughing and fever. In general, many people are comparing the virus to a flu or other form of respiratory sickness, but medical experts are intent on making things as specific as possible.
The Washington Post spoke to the former acting director of the Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats, Mario Ramirez, who said that this new release from the CDC was a good sign. He explained that this revised list of symptoms constituted the centers saying: "we can say reliably that these six symptoms go with COVID-19."
"You don't want to list 20-something symptoms, especially if half the population has those symptoms. You're trying to balance targeting the right people to come in for testing, so it must be specific," Ramirez said.
Ramirez is an emergency room physician himself. He noted that the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. was giving doctors more and more understanding of the virus, and confident in treating them. Widespread anecdotal guesses are beginning to be proven true, even as laboratory testing begins to show results as well.
COVID-19 survivors say that the fatigue coupled with the shortness of breath the virus causes can be debilitating. One person told NBC News that: "My bathroom is maybe 15 steps from my bed... I wasn't sure I could get from the bathroom to my bed." For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.