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CDC expands list of possible COVID-19 symptoms

April 28: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its official list of possible symptoms of COVID-19, adding six new symptoms: 

  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat, and 
  • New loss of taste or smell.

Illustration of a clipboard holding a form with a checklist of several COVID-19 symptoms

We’ve mentioned most of these possible symptoms previously, based on reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies, but until recently, the CDC website had listed just three symptoms for COVID-19: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

The addition of these six new symptoms was prompted by recommendations from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), an an organization of public health epidemiologists that decides which infectious diseases should be tracked and reported to the CDC and provides guidelines about how cases should be defined and identified. The group’s recommendations, now adopted by the CDC, say that COVID-19 should be reported not only in the case of a positive lab test, but also when a patient has symptoms that include:

  • At least ONE of these: Cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing

OR

  • At least TWO of these: Fever, chills, shivers, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste and smell.

AND

  • No other, more plausible diagnosis.

CDC recommendations continue to stress that “emergency warning signs” necessitating immediate medical attention include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or partial loss of consciousness, and bluish lips or face. 

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