COVID-19 (summary)

Andrew Murphy and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

This summary article is intended to be used as a quick reference guide. Please see our complete COVID-19 article for more detail. 

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a viral infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 and is currently a World Health Organization (WHO) declared pandemic.

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.

The primary findings on CT in adults have been reported 2,3:

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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Article information

rID: 75235
System: Chest
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (summary)

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  • Case 5: COVID-19 pneumonia - pediatric
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