Coronavirus symptoms: Scientists warn of new COVID-19 symptom to look out for

Coronavirus symptoms have been shown to differ in severity from person to person. Most people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness says the World Health Organization, but in others, the virus can prove severe and even deadly. Studies have also revealed not all symptoms are respiratory.


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Researchers at Oregon and La Trobe University in Melbourne revealed some patients with coronavirus have been experiencing psychotic episodes.

Dr Ellie Brown, co-lead author of the study, said: “COVID-19 is a very stressful experience for everyone, particularly those with complex mental health needs.

“We know that psychosis, and first episodes of psychosis, are commonly triggered by substantial psychosocial stresses.

“In the context of COVID-19, this could include stress relating to isolation and having to potentially remain within challenging family situations.”

As part of the study, the researchers looked at research on viruses such as MERS and SARS to examine if there was a connection on how these viruses might impact people with psychosis.

The findings suggested some coronavirus patients may experience psychotic symptoms, such as hearing voices.

Professor Richard Gray, co-lead author of the study, said: “Maintaining infection control procedures when people are psychotic is challenging.

“In order for them not to become potential transmitters of the virus, clinicians and service providers may benefit from specific infection control advice to mitigate any transmission risk.”

Psychosis is described as losing contact with reality by the NHS.

The health body says: “This might involve seeing or hearing things that other people cannot see or hear (hallucinations) and believing things that are not actually true (delusions).”

The two main symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations – where a person hears, sees and, in some cases, feels, smells or tastes things that do not exist outside their mind, and delusions, where a person has strong beliefs that are not shared by others.

The researchers hope the findings of the study will spark further research into more severe mental health conditions like psychosis.


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Professor Gray added: “This is a group that’s probably going to need more support, with isolation, physical distancing, hand washing etc, and clinicians may be the ones who need to be thinking and working on this to assist this vulnerable population.”

Other symptoms of coronavirus which have been reported include:

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

You can use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you suspect symptoms to find out what to do. 

If your symptoms are mild, you’ll usually be advised to not leave your home for at least seven days.

The CDC warns to seek emergency medical attention if you experience the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

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