Experts say COVID-19 symptoms can vary greatly, more than initially thought

Reporter: Veronica Marshall
Published: Updated:

From fever and shortness of breath to losing your sense of taste and smell.

The list of COVID-19’s symptoms keeps growing.

The pandemic started off with a shortlist of symptoms with most patients coming in with a cough, body aches, fevers, occasional sore throat.

Later, doctors added losing the ability to smell and taste along with digestive problems.

And now, Dr. Fernando Petry, chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Martin Health says the list is still growing, “…Almost on a weekly basis, you start to notice there are more and more things coming out about how this illness affects people differently.”

Some COVID-19 patients experience heart, kidney, and blood clotting issues as well.

Dr. Bindu Mayi with Nova Southeastern University says it’s because the virus goes after a protein that’s found all over your body, “It’s found in multiple different places, which explains why the virus is able to show disease in all of these various different organs.”

Also coming into play is your body’s natural defenses.

“The immune system goes haywire,” Dr. Bindu Mayi explained. “It tries to attack the virus-infected cells, but it also starts attacking healthy tissues and organs in the body, and that’s what creates this widespread damage.”

If the virus can present as almost anything, from a rash to fatigue, people may not know they have it. Making testing and social distancing as we start to re-open all the more important.

Doctor David Lindner, the medical director of NCH’s COVID-19 response team, says they’re mainly seeing fevers, sore throats, and patients who’ve lost their sense of smell.

He says his team hasn’t seen anyone with “COVID toes”.

The Lee County Dept. of Health said: “Other symptoms being reported to our staff that are not in the CLI category are: lethargy, gastrointestinal upset, headache, altered mental status (typically due to hypoxia) and loss of taste/smell.”

And in Collier County, their Dept. of Health said they’re seeing most of the original symptoms: “We aren’t seeing many cases of the additional symptoms. For the most part, our symptomatic patients exhibit fever, dry cough, and/or shortness of breath.”

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