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Why it can be so hard to tell if you have Covid-19

What are the signs you have been infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus? That’s become a surprisingly tricky question to answer, and it’s hampering the fight against the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the main symptoms of the illness are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, appearing between two and 14 days after exposure.

However, some patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, have experienced completely different symptoms, like vomiting and loss of taste and smell. Some people’s Covid-19 symptoms overlap with those of other illnesses like influenza, making these infections hard to distinguish without testing. And some infected patients have reported no symptoms at all.

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