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How long is COVID-19 disease? Does it have stages?

The average time from the onset until clinical recovery for simple cases is approximately 2 weeks and 3 to 6 weeks for patients with acute disease.

The clinical progression is divided into different stages: 1

  • Week one is characterized by fever, muscle pain and other systemic symptoms that generally improve within a few days. 2,3
  • As the disease progresses, in week two patients frequently have a recurring fever, diarrhea and oxygen desaturation.3

In between day 10 and 15 a severe clinical worsening can be produced and progress to stage three, characterized by SDRA (Acute Respiratory Difficulty Syndrome) and will require a ventilator.3

  1. World health Organization. Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [Internet]. 2020. Disponible en: source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf
  2. Lai C-C, Liu YH, Wang C-Y, Wang Y-H, Hsueh S-C, Yen M-Y, et al. Asymptomatic carrier state, acute respiratory disease, and pneumonia due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): Facts and myths. Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection 2020. doi:10.1016/j.jmii.2020.02.012.
  3. Peiris J, Chu C, Cheng V, Chan K, Hung I, Poon L, et al. Clinical progression and viral load in a community outbreak of coronavirus-associated SARS pneumonia: a prospective study. The Lancet 2003;361:1767–72. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(03)13412-5.