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Why it can be so hard to tell if you have Covid-19


(Umair Irfan/ Vox) — What are the signs you have been infected with the coronavirus? That’s a surprisingly tricky question to answer, and it’s hampering the fight against the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines in late April to include a new loss of taste or smell as symptoms of Covid-19, as well as signs such as chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and headache. That’s in addition to fever, cough, and shortness of breath, considered to be more common.

Some patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, have experienced symptoms like vomiting, rashes, and lesions on toes. Some people’s Covid-19 symptoms overlap with those of other illnesses like influenza, making these infections hard to distinguish without testing. And some infected patients have reported no symptoms at all.

“As this pandemic unfolds, it’s becoming very clear that the symptoms of Covid vary quite a lot from person to person, and there are a lot of symptoms that we previously didn’t appreciate were related to Covid,” said Andrew Chan, a professor of immunology and infectious disease at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “As a result, it’s really put us behind in our ability to identify people with Covid infections, and probably resulted in a lot of people walking around with Covid and not knowing it.” (…)

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