We’re Learning More About COVID-19 – Here’s the Latest

July 8, 2020

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Thomas Bader, M.D. contributes to topics such as Medical Quality.

As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, experts are revising guidelines based on new evidence that’s now become available.

“Since COVID-19 is such a new virus, and we are learning about it all the time, it’s important to be aware of new changes and how they can affect you,” says Thomas Bader, M.D., vice president of medical quality at Hackensack Meridian Health.

Here are a few recent updates that you should be aware of:

New symptoms of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added congestion or runny nose, diarrhea and nausea to its list of COVID-19 symptoms. The full list now includes*:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Here’s what to do if you think you have COVID-19.

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

More risk as you age

The CDC recently removed the specific age threshold of 65 as a risk factor for developing a more severe form of COVID-19. The agency now says that your risk for severe illness “increases steadily as you age.”

“This means that everyone of any age should really be taking this risk seriously and doing everything they can to protect themselves and others,” cautions Dr. Bader.

Underlying medical conditions that increase risk

The CDC also updated the list of underlying medical conditions that may cause an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The list now includes:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes

What should I do if I now fall into a risk category?

As more people begin heading out to stores, restaurants and beaches, it’s important to know that there is a level of risk every time you come in contact with another person.

“People should really be considering their individual risk very carefully, suggests TK doctor. “This includes understanding what activities are high-risk and taking all necessary precautions to ensure you are safe.”

If you must go out, always wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid touching your face and wash or sanitize your hands often. Here’s an article that explains safety measures while going out in more detail.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.