This summary article is intended to be used as a quick reference guide. Please see our complete COVID-19 article for more detail.
Many people with SARS-CoV-2 infection are asymptomatic 9. Symptoms and signs of COVID-19 are non-specific 1 but in symptomatic individuals most commonly include:
- fever (85-90%)
- cough (65-70%)
- fatigue (35-40%)
- sputum production (30-35%)
- shortness of breath (15-20%)
The likelihood of severe illness requiring hospitalization correlates closely with advanced age and presence of co-morbidities.
SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the Betacoronavirus genus, one of the genera of the Coronaviridae family of viruses. SARS-CoV-2 is indirectly zoonotic, i.e. it originally arose from an animal species, but transmission is now primarily interhuman. The closest animal coronavirus by genetic sequence is a bat coronavirus 5.
The primary findings of COVID-19 on are those of atypical or organizing pneumonia 2,3. Up to 18% of cases demonstrate normal chest x-rays or CT when mild/early in the disease course 10. Bilateral and/or multilobar involvement is common, more often with a lower zone distribution.
- patchy or diffuse airspace opacities, whether consolidation or ground-glass opacity 10,11
- pleural effusion is rare 11
The primary findings on CT in adults have been reported 2,3:
- ground-glass opacities (GGO)
- crazy paving appearance (GGOs and inter-/intra-lobular septal thickening)
- air space consolidation
- bronchovascular thickening in the lesion
- traction bronchiectasis
Treatment and prognosis
Treatment is currently supportive including ventilation for some patients. No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available but this area is being actively researched (March 2020). The mortality rate is estimated to be 3.6% 10.
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- 2. Huang C, Wang Y, Li X, Ren L, Zhao J, Hu Y, Zhang L, Fan G, Xu J, Gu X, Cheng Z, Yu T, Xia J, Wei Y, Wu W, Xie X, Yin W, Li H, Liu M, Xiao Y, Gao H, Guo L, Xie J, Wang G, Jiang R, Gao Z, Jin Q, Wang J, Cao B. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. (2020) Lancet (London, England). doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5 - Pubmed
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- 6. Yan-Rong Guo, Qing-Dong Cao, Zhong-Si Hong, Yuan-Yang Tan, Shou-Deng Chen, Hong-Jun Jin, Kai-Sen Tan, De-Yun Wang, Yan Yan. The origin, transmission and clinical therapies on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak – an update on the status. (2020) Military Medical Research. 7 (1): 1. doi:10.1186/s40779-020-00240-0 - Pubmed
- 7. Wei-cai Dai, Han-wen Zhang, Juan Yu, Hua-jian Xu, Huan Chen, Si-ping Luo, Hong Zhang, Li-hong Liang, Xiao-liu Wu, Yi Lei, Fan Lin. CT Imaging and Differential Diagnosis of COVID-19:. (2020) Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal. doi:10.1177/0846537120913033 - Pubmed
- 8. Yan Li, Liming Xia. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Role of Chest CT in Diagnosis and Management. (2020) American Journal of Roentgenology. doi:10.2214/AJR.20.22954 - Pubmed
- 9. Kenji Mizumoto, Katsushi Kagaya, Alexander Zarebski, Gerardo Chowell. Estimating the asymptomatic proportion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, Yokohama, Japan, 2020. (2020) Eurosurveillance. 25 (10): 2000180. doi:10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.10.2000180 - Pubmed
- 10. Rodrigues, J.C.L. et al. An update on COVID-19 for the radiologist - A British society of Thoracic Imaging statement. (2020) Clinical Radiology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crad.2020.03.003
- 11. Wong HYF, Lam HYS, Fong AH, Leung ST, Chin TW, Lo CSY, Lui MM, Lee JCY, Chiu KW, Chung T, Lee EYP, Wan EYF, Hung FNI, Lam TPW, Kuo M, Ng MY. Frequency and Distribution of Chest Radiographic Findings in COVID-19 Positive Patients. (2019) Radiology. doi:10.1148/radiol.2020201160 - Pubmed