The number of official symptoms in the US is now up to nine, including muscle pain and a sore throat.
Researchers worldwide are looking for a way to control the coronavirus pandemic. One key factor we’ll need in stopping the spread of the disease is reliably identifying who has (or previously had) COVID-19. This data will help us reopen the country safely, and will possibly indicate which areas have herd immunity.
As countries like the US face coronavirus testing shortages, a lot of people are depending on matching their symptoms to the list of officially recognized symptoms of COVID-19 to determine if they have the disease and should try to get a test.
Those efforts may have gotten easier as the CDC has expanded its list of coronavirus symptoms, adding six more indicators. Previously, the only recognized symptoms were cough, shortness of breath or fever. On Monday, the CDC updated the list.
Now, the CDC says you may have contracted the coronavirus if you have either:
Shortness of breath
Or you may have it if you are suffering from two of the following symptoms:
Repeated shaking with chills
New loss of taste or smell
Just because you have any of the above symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have the coronavirus — remember, these are also symptoms of many other health issues, including the flu. The CDC also states that “this list is not all inclusive.” So if you feel ill, call your health care provider.
With these additions, the CDC confirms what anecdotal evidence has shown: Coronavirus patients have previously reported losing their sense of smell or having a scratchy throat. But the CDC has good reason for not listing every anecdotal symptom as an officially recognized marker of the disease.
Mario Ramirez, the former acting director of the Office of Pandemics and Emerging Threats under President Barack Obama, tells The Washington Post that there are trade-offs between listing too many and too little symptoms. “You don’t want to list 20-something symptoms, especially if half the population has those symptoms,” Ramirez said in the Washington Post interview. “You’re trying to balance targeting the right people to come in for testing, so it must be specific.”
If you suspect that you or someone in your household has COVID-19 but isn’t ill enough for hospitalization, here’s everything you need to know about taking care of the sick person. And if you believe that testing is necessary in your situation, here’s what you need to know about finding a coronavirus testing site near you.