Covid Symptoms Timeline

Although it feels like COVID-19 has been with us forever, it’s only been a pandemic for less than a year. Yet, in less than six months, it has wreaked havoc on the world economy, our daily lives, and caused over 800,000 deaths worldwide. 

Because of its potential for serious complications, it’s good to know the coronavirus’s signs and symptoms. Early detection can help prevent severe symptoms and keep other people from getting sick. For example, knowing what to look out for allows someone to spot signs of a possible COVID infection, prompting them to get tested and isolate themselves. 

It’s important to know if you have COVID and to isolate yourself immediately once you have symptoms. The following are COVID-19 symptoms in progression and an approximate timeline for when those symptoms might appear. 

10. Exposure and Transmission


The virus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2. A person can catch the virus by inhaling virus particles or touching mucus membranes to anything that contains the virus. For instance, rubbing your eyes with fingers that have viruses can cause a COVID-19 infection. Being near someone with COVID-19 for long periods, especially in closed environments without protection, can lead to infections because of an increase in the chances of exposure to the virus. 

The virus typically spreads through droplets that remain in the air or spread onto objects, like doorknobs or countertops. When coughing or sneezing, virus-filled droplets filled shoot through the air. The heavier particles fall onto the surrounding areas, and the lighter droplets float through the air. An infected person may also spread the virus if they get viruses onto their hands and touch other objects, which is why masks and handwashing are essential. 

9. First Appearance of Symptoms

Getting Sick

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, the first symptoms of COVID-19 appear two to 14 days after exposure. Research confirms that about 97% of people infected with COVID will show their first symptoms within 11 days of exposure. For nearly half of people infected, however, the first symptoms begin approximately five days after exposure. 

At the same time, the 14-day estimate is not cut and dry. Out of every 10,000 infected people, about 101 will develop symptoms after the 14-day timeline. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • A new loss of smell or taste
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Severe symptoms that require immediate medical attention include: 

  • Blue tinge to lips or face
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion

If you suspect that you may have been exposed or have the above symptoms, you can contact your healthcare provider. According to the CDC, you should follow these guidelines.  


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