Fact check: Claim of new symptoms for COVID-19 is partly false

We answer the often searched question: "What are the symptoms of coronavirus versus the flu?" USA TODAY

Fact check: Claim of new symptoms for COVID-19 is partly false

The claim: COVID-19 has new, expanded symptoms 

As cities and countries across the world scramble to adapt to challenges presented by the coronavirus, viral posts containing misinformation about at-home teststreatments and virus symptoms have been shared by thousands of users across various social media platforms. 

One Facebook post provides a list of "expanded" symptoms of the virus, including diarrhea, vomiting and loss of appetite. 

When do symptoms show? What are they?

According to the CDC, symptoms of the virus appear between two to 14 days after exposure. However, some cases of asymptotic infection have been reported.

The coronavirus typically causes flu-like symptoms, but those who are more vulnerable and susceptible to the disease can develop a severe form of pneumonia. 

According to the World Health Organization, common symptoms of the coronavirus include fever, tiredness and a dry cough.

Additional, less common symptoms include shortness of breath, aches and pains and a sore throat, with very few cases reporting nausea (the feeling of being sick), runny nose or diarrhea. 

Neither the CDC or WHO lists vomiting or loss of appetite as symptoms of the virus, and diarrhea is very rarely reported.

WHO recommends people with mild symptoms should self-isolate and contact a medical provider or reach out to a COVID-19 line for information on testing when necessary. Those with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. 

Both the CDC and WHO have released guidelines on how to stay safe, practice social distancing and ultimately flatten the curve. 

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 is highly contagious, allowing it to spread easily from person to person. The virus is carried on respiratory droplets when we sneeze, cough or talk. The droplets can travel up to six feet, meaning that being within six feet of an infected person could result in exposure. 

The virus has the potential to live on surfaces for a few hours, which is why proper hygiene, including washing hands and disinfecting surfaces, is critically important in stopping the spread. 

Current guidelines from the White House, including advisories from the CDC, recommend that all Americans follow the direction of their local authorities, stay indoors as much as possible and practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.

Our ruling: Partly false

We rate the claim of new COVID-19 symptoms partly false because some of the claim was not supported by our research.

While fever and cough are common symptoms of the coronavirus, vomiting and loss of appetite are not, and the other listed symptoms in the Facebook post are rarely reported. 

Our fact-check sources:

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Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/03/27/coronavirus-fact-check-claim-new-covid-19-symptoms-partly-false/2926604001/

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