Coronavirus: Less Common Symptoms That Are Being Reported

March 26, 2020

While coronavirus has spread unpredictably throughout the world, recent reports of unusual, less common symptoms are adding to the confusion.

It’s no surprise that new symptoms are emerging from the illness, which doctors and officials have been rushing to defend against while attempting to fully understand.

You already know commonly reported ones like fever, cough, fatigue and shortness of breath. Below are some lesser known symptoms to look out for.

Loss of smell

“Significant numbers” of known coronavirus patients with lost or reduced sense of smell have been reported by South Korea, Italy and China, according to USA Today.

In a joint statement, Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, and Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK, wrote about the occurrence of anosmia (the loss of smell) in patients around the world, including those who otherwise don’t exhibit major symptoms.

"In Germany it is reported that more than 2 in 3 confirmed cases have anosmia,” they wrote. “In South Korea, where testing has been more widespread, 30% of patients testing positive have had anosmia as their major presenting symptom in otherwise mild cases.”

Loss of taste

In addition to loss of smell, COVID-19 patients have reported loss of taste.

NBA player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz revealed he experienced both loss of taste and smell after testing positive for the virus last week.

“Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms, haven’t been able to smell anything for the last 4 days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?” Gobert tweeted.

While both loss of taste and smell can be symptomatic of the seasonal flu, they strike a very specific demographic of coronavirus victims, according to Dr. Gregory Levitin, an otolaryngologist at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.

"What is most unusual about this new finding is that the loss of smell or taste was the only presenting symptom in a group of patients under the age of 40 who ultimately tested positive for the COVID-19 virus," Levitin wrote in an email to USA TODAY.

Pink eye

This week it was revealed that coronavirus can spread to the eyes.

On Tuesday, the American Academy of Ophthalmology shared an alert warning that COVID-19 may cause conjunctivitis, or pink eye, in about 1-3% of infected people, reported TODAY.

Pink eye is inflammation of the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye.

While virus particles have been found in eye secretions, the AAO suggested that the risk of being infected with the virus via tears is low.

The Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington has been described as “ground zero for the West Coast's coronavirus outbreak.” In an interview with CNN, one nurse from the center described the symptom in her patients.

“They have, like ... allergy eyes,” the nurse said. “The white part of the eye is not red. It's more like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes.”

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