Do you know the most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection?

Do you know the most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection?

Last Reviewed : 12/23/2020
Do you know the most common symptoms of COVID-19 infection?

While it is partially true that COVID-19 symptoms are like Flu symptoms, COVID-19 clinical presentation slightly differs from Flu illness. Several articles were published so far regarding the common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness. Clinical characteristics are almost similar in most of the published studies. About 81% cases are classified as mild cases, 14% are severe and 5% are critical. Death rate of COVID-19 is below 2%. In some European countries like Italy, death rate is around 10% which is significantly higher than other countries. Reasons are not clear but Italy has older population than other countries.

Here is the list of the common symptoms and their percentages seen in COVID-19 patients, based on the research studies published so far.

Fever: 89%

Cough: 68%

Fatigue: 38%

Sputum production: 34%

Shortness of breath: 19%

Joint pains or body aches: 15%

Headache: 14%

Sore throat: 14%

Chills: 12%

Nausea and vomiting: 5%

Runny nose or nasal congestion: 5%

Diarrhea: 4%

Median temperature identified was 37.3o C or 101o F. Only 12% of the patients had a fever more than 39oC or 102.2oF. It is interesting to note that nasal congestion or runny nose is only identified in 5% of the patients. The Prevalence of nausea and vomiting is around 5%. In few cases, nausea and vomiting may be the initial symptoms even before fever is seen.



  • Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China. Wei-jie Guan et al. New England Journal of Medicine. February 28, 2020. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2002032
  • A review of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) based on current evidence. Wang LS et al. Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 Mar 19:105948. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.105948.
  • Clinical Features and Treatment of COVID-19 Patients in Northeast Chongqing. Wan S et al. J Med Virol. 2020 Mar 21. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25783
  • Epidemiology, causes, clinical manifestation and diagnosis, prevention and control of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the early outbreak period: a scoping review. Adhikari, S et al. Infect Dis Poverty 9, 29 (2020).
  • Epidemiological characteristics of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tianjin. Dong XC et al. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2020 Mar 13;41(5):638-642. doi: 10.3760/cma.j.cn112338-20200221-00146

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