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Age, Sex, Existing Conditions of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Last updated: February 29, 4:40 GMT

There are two sources that provide age, sex, and comorbidity statistics:

  • The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO, [2] which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases. The report notes that “The Joint Mission acknowledges the known challenges and biases of reporting crude CFR early in an epidemic” (see also our discussion on: How to calculate the mortality rate during an outbreak)
  • A paper by the Chinese CCDC released on Feb. 17, which is based on 72,314 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in China as of Feb. 11, and was published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology [1]

We will list data from both, labeling them as “confirmed cases” and “all cases” respectively in the tables.

Age of Coronavirus Deaths

COVID-19 Fatality Rate by AGE:

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on the age group. The percentages shown below do not have to add up to 100%, as they do NOT represent share of deaths by age group. Rather, it represents, for a person in a given age group, the risk of dying if infected with COVID-19.

AGEDEATH RATE
confirmed cases
DEATH RATE
all cases
80+ years old21.9%14.8%
70-79 years old8.0%
60-69 years old3.6%
50-59 years old1.3%
40-49 years old0.4%
30-39 years old0.2%
20-29 years old0.2%
10-19 years old0.2%
0-9 years oldno fatalities

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). The percentages do not have to add up to 100%, as they do NOT represent share of deaths by age group.

In general, relatively few cases are seen among children.

Sex ratio

COVID-19 Fatality Rate by SEX:

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on sex. When reading these numbers, it must be taken into account that smoking in China is much more prevalent among males. Smoking increases the risks of respiratory complications.

SEXDEATH RATE
confirmed cases
DEATH RATE
all cases
Male4.7%2.8%
Female2.8%1.7%

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). The percentages do not have to add up to 100%, as they do NOT represent share of deaths by sex.

Pre-existing medical conditions (comorbidities)

Patients who reported no pre-existing (“comorbid”) medical conditions had a case fatality rate of 0.9%. Pre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk of dying from a COVID-19 infection are:

COVID-19 Fatality Rate by COMORBIDITY:

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on pre-existing condition. The percentage shown below does NOT represent in any way the share of deaths by pre-existing condition. Rather, it represents, for a patient with a given pre-existing condition, the risk of dying if infected by COVID-19.

PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONDEATH RATE
confirmed cases
DEATH RATE
all cases
Cardiovascular disease13.2%10.5%
Diabetes9.2%7.3%
Chronic respiratory disease8.0%6.3%
Hypertension8.4%6.0%
Cancer7.6%5.6%
no pre-existing conditions0.9%

*Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). The percentages do not have to add up to 100%, as they do NOT represent share of deaths by condition.

Source: worldometers.info

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mortality Rate

Last updated: March 5, 3:00 GMT

See also: Death Rate by Age and Sex of COVID-19 patients

On this page:

3.4% Mortality Rate estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO) as of March 3

In his opening remarks at the March 3 media briefing on Covid-19, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated:

Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected.” [13]

Initial estimate was 2%

Initially, the World Health Organization (WHO) had mentioned 2% as a mortality rate estimate in a press conference on Wednesday, January 29 [1][2] and again on February 10. However, on January 29 WHO specified that this was a very early and provisional estimate that might have changed. Surveillance was increasing, within China but also globally, but at the time it was said that:

  1. We don’t know how many were infected (“When you look at how many people have died, you need to look at how many people where infected, and right now we don’t know that number. So it is early to put a percentage on that.”[1][2]).
  2. The only number currently known is how many people have died out of those who have been reported to the WHO.
  3. It is therefore very early to make any conclusive statements about what the overall mortality rate will be for the novel coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization [1][2].

Mortality Rate as of Feb. 20 in China (findings from the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission)

The Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO [12] is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases. The report notes that “The Joint Mission acknowledges the known challenges and biases of reporting crude CFR early in an epidemic” (see also our discussion on: How to calculate the mortality rate during an outbreak). Here are its findings on Case Fatality Ratio, or CFR (the mortality rate):

“As of 20 February, 2,114 of the 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases have died (crude fatality ratio [CFR: 3.8%) (note: at least some of whom were identified using a case definition that included pulmonary disease).

The overall CFR varies by location and intensity of transmission (i.e. 5.8% in Wuhan vs. 0.7% in other areas in China).

In China, the overall CFR was higher in the early stages of the outbreak (17.3% for cases with symptom onset from 1-10 January) and has reduced over time to 0.7% for patients with symptom onset after 1 February. ” [12]

The Joint Mission noted that the standard of care has evolved over the course of the outbreak.

Mortality Rate, as discussed by the National Health Commission (NHC) of China on Feb. 4

Asked at a press conference on February 4 what the current mortality rate (or case fatality rate, CFR) is, an official with China NHC said that [7]:

  • The formula they are using is: cumulative current total deaths / current confirmed cases. Therefore, as of 24:00 on Feb. 3, the formula used was 425/20,438.
  • Based on this figure, the national mortality rate to date was 2.1% of confirmed cases.
  • There might be mild cases and other cases not reported.
  • 97% of the country’s total deaths (414) were in the Hubei Province.
  • Mortality rate in Wuhan was 4.9%.
  • Mortality rate in the Hubei Province was 3.1%.
  • Mortality rate nationwide was 2.1%.
  • Fatality rate in other provinces was 0.16%.
  • Deaths in Wuhan were 313, accounting for 74% of China’s total.
  • Most of the cases were still mild cases, therefore there was no need to panic.
  • Asked why Wuhan was so much higher than the national level, the NHC official replied that it was for lack of resources, citing as an example that there were only 110 critical care beds in the three designated hospitals where most of the cases were sent.
  • National mortality rate was basically stable, as of Feb. 4 at 2.1%, and it was 2.3% at the beginning of the epidemic, which can be seen as a slight decline.
  • Front the analysis of death cases, it emerged that the demographic profile was mainly male, accounting for 2/3, females accounting for 1/3, and is mainly elderly, more than 80% are elderly over 60 years old, and more than 75% had underlying diseases present such as cardiovascular and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and, in some cases, tumor.
  • Elderly people with basic diseases, as long as they have pneumonia, were clinically a high-risk factor regardless of whether it is a coronavirus or not, and the case fatality rate was also very high, so it is not that the case fatality rate of pneumonia is high because of the infection with the new coronavirus. “This point must be explained to everyone,” concluded the NHC official.[7]

Preliminary study providing a tentative 3% estimate for case fatality rate

A preliminary study published on The Lancet on January 24 [3] provided an early estimation of 3% for the overall case fatality rate. Below we show an extract (highlights added for the relevant data and observations):

Of the 41 patients in this cohort, 22 (55%) developed severe dyspnoea and 13 (32%) required admission to an intensive care unit, and six died.

Hence, the case-fatality proportion in this cohort is approximately 14.6%, and the overall case fatality proportion appears to be closer to 3%.

However, both of these estimates should be treated with great caution because not all patients have concluded their illness (ie, recovered or died) and the true number of infections and full disease spectrum are unknown.

Importantly, in emerging viral infection outbreaks the case-fatality ratio is often overestimated in the early stages because case detection is highly biased towards the more severe cases.

As further data on the spectrum of mild or asymptomatic infection becomes available, one case of which was documented by Chan and colleagues, the case-fatality ratio is likely to decrease.

Nevertheless, the 1918 influenza pandemic is estimated to have had a case-fatality ratio of less than 5% but had an enormous impact due to widespread transmission, so there is no room for complacency.

A novel coronavirus outbreak of global health concern – Chen Wang et al., The Lancet. January 24, 2020

Fatality rate can also change as a virus can mutate, according to epidemiologists.

Death rate among patients admitted to hospital

A study on 138 hospitalized patients with 2019-nCoV infection, published on February 7 on JAMA, found that 26% of patients required admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 4.3% died, but a number of patients were still hospitalized at the time. [9]

A previous study had found that, out of 41 admitted hospital patients, 13 (32%) patients were admitted to an ICU and six (15%) died.[5]

Days from first symptom to death

The Wang et al. February 7 study published on JAMA found that the median time from first symptom to dyspnea was 5.0 days, to hospital admission was 7.0 days, and to ARDS was 8.0 days.[9]

Previously. the China National Health Commission reported the details of the first 17 deaths up to 24 pm 22 Jan 2020. A study of these cases found that the median days from first symptom to death were 14 (range 6-41) days, and tended to be shorter among people of 70 year old or above (11.5 [range 6-19] days) than those with ages below 70 year old (20 [range 10-41] days.[6]

Median Hospital Stay

The JANA study found that, among those discharged alive, the median hospital stay was 10 days.[9]

Comparison with other viruses

For comparison, the case fatality rate with seasonal flu in the United States is less than 0.1% (1 death per every 1,000 cases).

Mortality rate for SARS was 10%, and for MERS 34%.

VirusDeath Rate
Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)2%*
SARS9.6%
MERS34%
Swine Flu0.02%

*estimate

How to calculate the mortality rate during an outbreak

At present, it is tempting to estimate the case fatality rate by dividing the number of known deaths by the number of confirmed cases. The resulting number, however, does not represent the true case fatality rate and might be off by orders of magnitude […]

A precise estimate of the case fatality rate is therefore impossible at present.

2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): estimating the case fatality rate – a word of caution – Battegay Manue et al., Swiss Med Wkly, February 7, 2020

The case fatality rate (CFR) represents the proportion of cases who eventually die from a disease.

Once an epidemic has ended, it is calculated with the formula: deaths / cases.

But while an epidemic is still ongoing, as it is the case with the current novel coronavirus outbreak, this formula is, at the very least, “naïve” and can be “misleading if, at the time of analysis, the outcome is unknown for a non negligible proportion of patients.” [8](Methods for Estimating the Case Fatality Ratio for a Novel, Emerging Infectious Disease – Ghani et al, American Journal of Epidemiology).

In other words, current deaths belong to a total case figure of the past, not to the current case figure in which the outcome (recovery or death) of a proportion (the most recent cases) hasn’t yet been determined.

The correct formula, therefore, would appear to be:

CFR = deaths at day.x / cases at day.x-{T}
(where T = average time period from case confirmation to death)

This would constitute a fair attempt to use values for cases and deaths belonging to the same group of patients.

One issue can be that of determining whether there is enough data to estimate T with any precision, but it is certainly not T = 0 (what is implicitly used when applying the formula current deaths / current cases to determine CFR during an ongoing outbreak).

Let’s take, for example, the data at the end of February 8, 2020: 813 deaths (cumulative total) and 37,552 cases (cumulative total) worldwide.

If we use the formula (deaths / cases) we get:

813 / 37,552 = 2.2% CFR (flawed formula).

With a conservative estimate of T = 7 days as the average period from case confirmation to death, we would correct the above formula by using February 1 cumulative cases, which were 14,381, in the denominator:

Feb. 8 deaths / Feb. 1 cases = 813 / 14,381 = 5.7% CFR (correct formula, and estimating T=7).

T could be estimated by simply looking at the value of (current total deaths + current total recovered) and pair it with a case total in the past that has the same value. For the above formula, the matching dates would be January 26/27, providing an estimate for T of 12 to 13 days. This method of estimating T uses the same logic of the following method, and therefore will yield the same result.

An alternative method, which has the advantage of not having to estimate a variable, and that is mentioned in the American Journal of Epidemiology study cited previously as a simple method that nevertheless could work reasonably well if the hazards of death and recovery at any time t measured from admission to the hospital, conditional on an event occurring at time t, are proportional, would be to use the formula:

CFR = deaths / (deaths + recovered)

which, with the latest data available, would be equal to:

31,027 / (31,027 + 142,785) = 18% CFR (worldwide)

If we now exclude cases in mainland China, using current data on deaths and recovered cases, we get:

27,727 / (27,727 + 67,337) = 29.2% CFR (outside of mainland China)

The sample size above is limited, and the data could be inaccurate (for example, the number of recoveries in countries outside of China could be lagging in our collection of data from numerous sources, whereas the number of cases and deaths is more readily available and therefore generally more up to par).

There was a discrepancy in mortality rates (with a much higher mortality rate in China) which however is not being confirmed as the sample of cases outside of China is growing in size. On the contrary, it is now higher outside of China than within.

That initial discrepancy was generally explained with a higher case detection rate outside of China especially with respect to Wuhan, where priority had to be initially placed on severe and critical cases, given the ongoing emergency.

Unreported cases would have the effect of decreasing the denominator and inflating the CFR above its real value. For example, assuming 10,000 total unreported cases in Wuhan and adding them back to the formula, we would get a CFR of 16.9% (quite different from the CFR of 18% based strictly on confirmed cases).

Neil Ferguson, a public health expert at Imperial College in the UK, said his “best guess” was that there were 100,000 affected by the virus even though there were only 2,000 confirmed cases at the time. [11]

Without going that far, the possibility of a non negligible number of unreported cases in the initial stages of the crisis should be taken into account when trying to calculate the case fatally rate.

As the days go by and the city organized its efforts and built the infrastructure, the ability to detect and confirm cases improved. As of February 3, for example, the novel coronavirus nucleic acid testing capability of Wuhan had increased to 4,196 samples per day from an initial 200 samples.[10]

A significant discrepancy in case mortality rate can also be observed when comparing mortality rates as calculated and reported by China NHC: a CFR of 3.1% in the Hubei province (where Wuhan, with the vast majority of deaths is situated), and a CFR of 0.16% in other provinces (19 times less).

Finally, we shall remember that while the 2003 SARS epidemic was still ongoing, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a fatality rate of 4% (or as low as 3%), whereas the final case fatality rate ended up being 9.6%.

Source: Worldormeters.info

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Incubation Period

Coronavirus Incubation Period:

Last updated: March 12, 15:00 GMT2 – 14 daysPossible outliers: 0 – 27 days

Summary of findings:

  • 2-14 days represents the current official estimated range for the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
  • However, a case with an incubation period of 27 days has been reported by Hubei Province local government on Feb. 22 [12]
  • In addition, a case with an incubation period of 19 days was observed in a JAMA study of 5 cases published on Feb. 21. [13]
  • An outlier of a 24 days incubation period had been for the first time observed in a Feb. 9 study.[11] WHO said at the time that this could actually reflect a second exposure rather than a long incubation period, and that it wasn’t going to change its recommendations.
  • Period can vary greatly among patients.
  • Mean incubation period observed:
    3.0 days
     (0 – 24 days range, study based on 1,324 cases)
    5.2 days (4.1 – 7.0 days range, based on 425 cases).
  • Mean incubation period observed in travelers from Wuhan:
    6.4 days
     (range from 2.1 to 11.1 days).

COVID-19 Incubation Period

The incubation period (time from exposure to the development of symptoms) of the virus is estimated to be between 2 and 14 days based on the following sources:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reported an incubation period for COVID-19 between 2 and 10 days[1]
  • China’s National Health Commission (NHC) had initially estimated an incubation period from 10 to 14 days [2].
  • The United States’ CDC estimates the incubation period for COVID-19 to be between 2 and 14 days [3].
  • DXY.cn, a leading Chinese online community for physicians and health care professionals, is reporting an incubation period of “3 to 7 days, up to 14 days”.

The estimated range will be most likely narrowed down as more data becomes available.

Incubation period of up to 24 days?

The incubation period has been found to be as long as 24 days (range: 0-24 days; median: 3.0 days) in a study published on February 9[11]

The WHO said in a press conference on February 10 that:

  • a very long incubation period could reflect a double exposure.
  • 24 days represented an outlier observation that must be taken into consideration in the context of the main finding of the study.
  • WHO is not considering changing recommendations regarding incubation periods.

More recently, however, a case with an incubation period of 19 days was observed in a JAMA study published on Feb. 21. [13], and another case with an incubation period of 27 days was reported by Hubei Province on Feb. 22 [12]

Incubation period of 5.2 days on average

A Chinese study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Jan. 30[7], has found the incubation period to be 5.2 days on average, but it varies greatly among patients. The Chinese team conducting the study said their findings support a 14-day medical observation period for people exposed to the pathogen.

Below is an extract of the study findings (highlight added by Worldometer):

Among the first 425 patients with confirmed NCIP, the median age was 59 years and 56% were male. The majority of cases (55%) with onset before January 1, 2020, were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, as compared with 8.6% of the subsequent cases.

The mean incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1 to 7.0), with the 95th percentile of the distribution at 12.5 days.

In its early stages, the epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days. With a mean serial interval of 7.5 days (95% CI, 5.3 to 19), the basic reproductive number was estimated to be 2.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.9).

Conclusions On the basis of this information, there is evidence that human-to-human transmission has occurred among close contacts since the middle of December 2019. Considerable efforts to reduce transmission will be required to control outbreaks if similar dynamics apply elsewhere. Measures to prevent or reduce transmission should be implemented in populations at risk.

Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia – Qun Li et al., New England Journal of Medicine, Jan. 29, 2020

Incubation Period in Travelers from Wuhan

A study financed by the Netherlands Ministry of Health and published on Eurosurveillance,[10] analyzed data on 88 cases with known travel history (to and) from Wuhan which were detected between 20 and 28 January as being infected with COVID-19.

The mean incubation period was estimated to be 6.4 days. The incubation period ranges from 2.1 to 11.1 days. The upper limit of 11.1 days could be considered conservative.[10]

The importance of knowing the incubation period

Understanding the incubation period is very important for health authorities as it allows them to introduce more effective quarantine systems for people suspected of carrying the virus, as a way of controlling and hopefully preventing the spread of the virus.

Comparison with other viruses

For comparison, the incubation period for the common flu (seasonal influenza) is typically around 2 days. Incubation period for other coronaviruses: SARS 2-7 days; MERS 5 days typically (range 2-14 days).

VirusIncubation Period
(typical cases)
Novel Coronavirus
(COVID-19)
2-14 or 0-24 days *
SARS2-7 days,
as long as 10 days
MERS5 days (range: 2-14)
Swine Flu1-4 days,
as long as 7 days
Seasonal Flu2 days (1-4 range)

*estimate

Source: worldometers.info

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SYMPTOMS

Coronavirus Symptoms (COVID-19)

Last updated: February 29, 4:40 GMT – We will continue to update and improve this page as we gather new information and details.

Reported illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [1]Content:

Typical Symptoms

COVID-19 typically causes flu-like symptoms including a fever and cough.

In some patients – particularly the elderly and others with other chronic health conditions – these symptoms can develop into pneumonia, with chest tightness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.

It seems to start with a feverfollowed by a dry cough.

After a week, it can lead to shortness of breath, with about 20% of patients requiring hospital treatment.

Notably, the COVID-19 infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose, sneezing, or sore throat (these symptoms have been observed in only about 5% of patients). Sore throat, sneezing, and stuffy nose are most often signs of a cold.

[back to top ↑]

80% of cases are mild

Based on all 72,314 cases of COVID-19 confirmed, suspected, and asymptomatic cases in China as of February 11, a paper by the Chinese CCDC released on February 17 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology has found that:

  • 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
  • 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
  • 4.7% as critical and can include: respiratory failureseptic shock, and multi-organ failure.
  • in about 2% of reported cases the virus is fatal.
  • Risk of death increases the older you are.
  • Relatively few cases are seen among children.

[back to top ↑]

Pre-existing conditions

See also: Death Rates by Existing Conditions

Pre-existing illnesses that put patients at higher risk:

  1. cardiovascular disease
  2. diabetes
  3. chronic respiratory disease
  4. hypertension

That said, some otherwise healthy people do seem to develop a severe form of pneumonia after being infected by the virus. The reason for this is being investigated as we try to learn more about this new virus.

[back to top ↑]

Examples of possible development of symptoms (from actual cases)

A man in his 40s in Japan:

  • Day #1: malaise and muscle pain
  • later diagnosed with pneumonia

A man in his 60s in Japan:

  • Day #1: initial symptoms of low-grade fever and sore throat.

A man in his 40s in Japan:

  • Day #1: chillssweating and malaise
  • Day #4: fevermuscle pain and cough

A woman in her 70s, in Japan:

  • Day #1: 38° fever for a few minutes
  • Day #2-3: went on a bus tour
  • Day #5: visited a medical institution
  • Day #6: showed symptoms of pneumonia.

A woman in her 40s, in Japan:

  • Day #1: low-grade fever
  • Day #2: 38° fever
  • Day #6: being treated at home.

A man in his 60s, in Japan:

  • Day #1: Cold
  • Day #6: Fever of 39° C. (102.2 F)
  • Day #8: Pneumonia

Another patient, in China with a history of type 2 diabetes and hypertension:

  • Jan. 22: Fever and cough
  • Feb. 5: Died

First death in the Philippines (a 44-year-old Chinese thought to have had other pre-existing health conditions):

  • Jan. 25: Fever, cough, and sore throat (hospitalized)
  • Developed severe pneumonia
  • Feb. 2: Died

[back to top ↑]

How long do symptoms last?

Using available preliminary data, the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission published on Feb. 28 by WHO, [5] which is based on 55,924 laboratory confirmed cases, observed the following median time from symptoms onset to clinical recovery:

  • mild cases: approximately 2 weeks
  • severe or critical disease: 3 – 6 weeks
  • time from onset to the development of severe disease (including hypoxia): 1 week

Among patients who have died, the time from symptom onset to outcome ranges from 2 – 8 weeks.

[back to top ↑]

Symptoms observed in hospitalized patients with COVID-19

Below we list the symptoms, with percentages representing the proportion of patients displaying that symptom, as observed in hospitalized patients tested and identified as having laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection. These findings refer to hospitalized patients, therefore generally representing serious or critical cases. The majority of cases of COVID-19 (about 80%) is mild.

Findings from the Wang et al study published on JAMA and based on 138 hospitalized patients [2]

Common symptoms included:
(Wang et al study) [2]
Fever98.6%
Fatigue69.6%
Dry cough59.4%

The median time observed:

  • from first symptom to → Dyspnea (Shortness of breath) = 5.0 days
  • from first symptom to → Hospital admission = 7.0 days
  • from first symptom to → ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) = 8.0 days (when occurring)

Full list of symptoms from the Wang study:


From: Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China – JAMA, Wang et al., February 7, 2020

Findings from the Huang et al study published on The Lancet and based on 41 hospitalized patients [3]

COMMON SYMPTOMS
AT ONSET OF ILLNESS
(Huang et al study) [3]
Fever98%
Cough76%
Myalgia (muscle pain)
or Fatigue
44%
LESS COMMON SYMPTOMS:
Sputum production
(coughing up material)
28%
Headache8%
Haemoptysis
(coughing up blood)
5%
Diarrhea3%

Findings from the Chen et al study published on The Lancet and based on 99 hospitalized patients [4]

Signs and symptoms at admission
(Chen et al study) [4]
Fever83%
Cough82%
Shortness of breath31%
Muscle ache11%
Confusion9%
Headache8%
Sore throat5%
Rhinorrhoea (runny nose)4%
Chest pain2%
Diarrhea2%
Nausea and vomiting1%
More than one sign
or symptom
90%
Fever, cough,
and shortness
of breath
15%

[back to top ↑]

Information on Coronavirus Symptoms from Government Health Officials

Canada Public Health Agency

The Canadian PHAC section dedicated to the 2019 novel coronavirus states that:

  • You may have little to no symptoms.
  • You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu.
  • Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus. This is the longest known infectious period for this virus.

Symptoms have included:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

UK Government and NHS

The UK National Health Service (NHS) section dedicated to Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) lists the following as the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath


The GOV.UK novel coronavirus guidance for the public page says:

  • Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.


The GOV.UK clinical guidance on Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): epidemiology, virology and clinical features notes that:

  • Fevercough or chest tightness, and dyspnoea are the main symptoms reported. While most cases report a mild illness, severe are also being reported, some of whom require intensive care.

Australian Government

The Australian Government Department of Health informs that symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, adding that some people will recover easily, while others may get very sick very quickly. According to their list of novel coronavirus symptoms, people may experience:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC has published the following infographic on its Symptoms of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV):

World Health Organization

The WHO has issued an interim guidance on the clinical management of suspected cases in which it says that

  • “nCoV may present with mildmoderate, or severe illness; the latter includes severe pneumonia, ARDS, sepsis and septic shock.”