How coronavirus symptoms attack day-by-day – from a fever to breathlessness – The Sun

FROM mild symptoms to severe illness and death – coronavirus has a wide range of reported effects.

And now scientists have produced a day-by-day breakdown of the typical Covid-19 symptoms – to help people better understand the nature of the illness.

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It comes as the number of cases of coronavirus in the UK has risen to 47,806, with the death toll standing at 4,974.

A recent study from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, outlines how Covid-19 progresses – with fever, fatigue and shortness of breath all developing at different times.

The analysis includes adults with Covid-19 admitted to Jinyintan Hospital and Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital after December 29 2019, who had been discharged or died by January 31 2020.

Here, with the help of this study, we take you through the coronavirus symptoms timeline and when to expect signs of killer bug to strike…

Day 1

For most people, the first symptoms will be fever (temperature above 37.8C) and/or cough, which is usually dry to start with.

Despite this, Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of, adds: "Muscle aches and pains and feeling generally very tired are also common.

"Sore throat and blocked nose are less common and runny nose or sneezing less common still."

And in a study carried out in Wuhan, of 138 patients, about ten per cent of people experienced diarrhoea and nausea a couple of days prior to development of fever.

Developing these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have the illness and they are similar to other illnesses, such as the common cold or flu.

Some people will not develop all of these symptoms –  and some might not even show symptoms at all, experts say.

Day 5

A team of researchers who studied 138 patients with Covid-19 at the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University found that on average it took five days for people to develop signs of breathing difficulties – from displaying the first symptoms.

Patients who are usually older or have a pre-existing health condition are normally the people who experience difficulty breathing – known as dyspnea.

Signs that a person is experiencing dyspnea include shortness of breath, feeling smothered or suffocated, tightness in the chest, rapid, shallow breathing, heart palpitations and wheezing.

Day 7

As Dr Jarvis says, "For most people, most symptoms will have settled within a week."

About 85 per cent of people diagnosed with coronavirus will see their symptoms start to diminish by day seven and coming out of isolation is a possibility.

However, the Government says that if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.


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The 14 day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

From the remaining 15 per cent who don't see their symptoms diminish and are showing signs of dyspnea – they tend to be admitted to hospital on day seven.

CDC advises that anyone with emergency warning signs for Covid-19, persistent chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath and bluish lips or face, should get medical attention.

Day 8

Patients with severe cases tend to develop signs of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) at this point.

According to the NHS, this is a life-threatening condition where the lungs can't provide the body's vital organs with enough oxygen.

ARDS occurs when the lungs become severely inflamed due to an infection or injury and the inflammation causes fluid from nearby blood vessels to leak into the tiny air sacs in your lungs, making breathing increasingly difficult.

Symptoms of ARDS can include severe shortness of breath, rapid, shallow breathing, tiredness, drowsiness or confusion and feeling faint.

15 per cent of cases reach this point, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Day 10

Patients with worsening breathing problems tend to be entered into an intensive care unit at day ten.

The Wuhan study also said it observed that the average hospital stay was ten days.

Day 12

By day 12, fever – an early sign of Covid-19 – would typically end around this point.

However, a cough associated with the illness may stay around for longer, the scientists found.

In fact, 45 per cent of the 191 patients who were looked at still had a cough on discharge after the 12 day period.

Day 13

Dyspnoea – shortness of breath – tends to cease after about 13 days for those who survive and continue until point of death for those who didn’t.

Day 18

From illness onset, the average time to death was 18.5 days.

Currently, there have been 4,974 confirmed deaths of Covid-19 in the UK.

Health authorities confirmed 621 more deaths in the UK yesterday – fewer deaths than the 708 on Saturday or the 684 on Friday.

Shockingly, a five-year-old child became Britain's youngest coronavirus victim this weekend.
The young victim is now believed to be the youngest Covid-19 death in Europe after a 12-year-old girl passed away in Belgium earlier this week.

Previously, Britain's youngest coronavirus victim was "very healthy" 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died in hospital in London last Monday.

Day 22

The average time to discharge was 22 days.

Currently, there is no vaccine to protect people against the virus.

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Antibiotics do not help, as they do not work against viruses – only bacteria.

The NHS says that treatment aims to relieve the symptoms while your body fights the illness.

Those who are infected will need to stay in isolation away from other people until they have recovered.

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