USC Michelson Center Develops a COVID-19 Symptom Timeline

Even though scientific knowledge about COVID-19 grows by the day, the mysteries of the disease’s progression remain a major hurdle in stemming the pandemic.


COVID symptoms timeline

Researchers at the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience are helping unlock these secrets through a new study on the likely order in which COVID-19 signs appear in infected patients.

The USC Michelson Center team analyzed data from more than 55,000 COVID-19 patients and compared the evolution of symptoms in those cases to symptom progression in influenza, SARS, and MERS. The researchers found that COVID-19 patients who develop symptoms are more likely to experience fever first, followed by cough and muscle pain.

A COVID-19 symptom timeline could help doctors make accurate diagnoses and guide patients in when to seek medical care, reducing the spread of the disease. “If patients with symptoms quickly underwent testing and contact tracing, these outbreaks could be contained,” the authors wrote.

The peer-reviewed, open-access journal Frontiers in Public Health published the study in August 2020.

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