The novel coronavirus, a natural evolution of the coronavirus, which also caused the SARS epidemic of 2003 in China and the MERS epidemic of 2012 in Saudi Arabia, is at the forefront of all the world’s problems.

This new strain called SARS-CoV-2 by the World Health Organization (WHO) has blown into a pandemic in under 100 days of its discovery in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China.

In spite of lockdown in many countries across the globe, the spread of this new virus continues unabated indicating is tremendous contagious nature.

People at high risk are affected the most and also top the list of the mortality numbers.

Incubation period

The incubation period is the time interval between exposure to the infection and the onset of symptoms.

A recently published study found that the time period between exposure to the onset of symptoms is about 5 to 6 days.

Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days. However, most commonly, symptoms onset around five days after exposure.

However, ground studies have shown that the onset of symptoms could come as early as three days or as late as fourteen days after exposure.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that a person of suspect be in self-quarantine for 14 days with regular monitoring of symptoms.

You should know that the person who has been infected is most contagious during the first 4 to 5 days of the exposure.

That is when he is asymptomatic and least suspected of being infected. At this time, he is most likely to spread the virus freely through the droplets of his coughs and sneezes and his touch on various commonly used surfaces.

Symptoms and effects on the body

A running nose and itchy eyes do not mean that the person has corona infection. It could be flu. COVID-19 symptoms are a bit more specific and they could be the early warning mild symptoms initially for a week only to become rapidly worse and severe later in some people.

Initially, therefore, you have influenza as the differential diagnosis against the corona disease.

Early COVID symptoms are mild and include:

  • Dry cough without phlegm
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Loss of smell (anosmia)
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of appetite

These mild symptoms last for about one week after which they can rapidly worsen. The initial symptoms can first appear 2-14 days after being infected.

According to prevalence, fever is most commonly seen and appears in 88% of cases, followed by a dry cough in 68% of cases and followed by fatigue and general weakness of the body in 38%, coughing up phlegm in 33%, and shortness of breath (18.6%).

Symptoms such as vomiting (5%), nasal congestion (4.8%), and diarrhea (3.7%) are rarely seen but they are potential symptoms.

In some people, the symptoms get worse; high fever, severe coughs, and increased shortness of breath, which often indicates pneumonia. Shortness of breath means you have to exert an extra effort to breathe.

You could experience continuous pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or inability to awaken the person, or bluish lips or face.

In more severe cases, the infection can cause acute pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and even death.

Just a lone shortness of breath symptom may not be COVID-19; it has to be accompanied by fever, and cough and the other symptoms mentioned above.

Similarly, loss of smell (anosmia) alone does not necessarily indicate corona infection. Anosmia could also be due to common cold and allergic rhinitis.