The novel coronavirus that emerged in China in late December 2019 has spread to more than 160 countries on six continents, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the pathogen a global pandemic. The numbers are alarming - increasing considerably everyday.

So how is the virus attacking the body? And when is it the right time to see a doctor? Very recently, scientists have produced a day-by-day breakdown of the typical coronavirus symptoms, which can progress from a mild cough to serious respiratory problems in just eight days.

  • Day 1 :
    Most patients infected with the virus first present with a fever, but may also experience fatigue, muscle pain and a dry cough. A very small minority may also experience nausea or diarrhoea for one or two days.
  • Day 2 :
    By day two, it’s likely that fatigue will start to kick in, leaving the patient feeling very tired.
  • Day 5 :
    Patients may have difficulty breathing - especially if they are older or have pre-existing conditions.
  • Day 7 :
    Day 7 marks the end of phase one, meaning that for 85% of patients, symptoms will start to diminish. If you live alone and feel better, and your fever has gone, you can now return to work. If you live with others, you may be advised to continue your isolation or visit a doctor for further treatment.
  • WHO advises that anyone with emergency warning signs for COVID-19 – persistent chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath and bluish lips or face – should get medical attention.
  • Day 8 :
    At this point, patients with severe cases (15%, according to the Chinese CDC) develop acute respiratory (ARDS), an illness that occurs when fluid builds up the lung. ARDS is often fatal.
  • Day 10 :
    If patients have worsening symptoms, this is the time in the disease's progression when they're most likely to be admitted to the ICU. These patients probably have more abdominal pain and appetite loss than patients with milder cases.

While these are just a few of the many myths doing rounds, I hope you remember to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene. It’s perhaps the most effective way to keep you and your loved ones safe!