Streamlining Covid

April 1, 2021
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Do You Have COVID?

Researchers want to streamline categorizing your symptoms and try to predict your outcome.

New study reveals their current findings.


  • The list of symptoms for COVID-19 has evolved, including common ailments.
  • Researchers at King’s College used a database of 4M people from a “symptom tracker app” to identify symptoms, and grouped symptoms found in a subset of 1600 people.
  • They identified 6 separate categories of COVID-19 symptoms, and then attempted to associate these categories to potential severity of disease.

The 6 Categories

1. Flu-like with no fever

2. Flu-like with fever

3. Gastrointestinal

4. Severe level 1, fatigue

5. Severe level 2, confusion

6. Severe level 3, abdominal and respiratory

Potential “Early Warning”?

  • First three categories had lower rates of severe cases, hospitalization.
  • Researchers used symptoms experienced on Day 5 of infection & factored-in other variables (e.g. age, weight) to assign patients a category.
  • Since hospitalization often occurs more than a week into a COVID-19 infection, researchers want to create a model to help predict a more serious case and enable doctors to intervene early.
“Certainly, we will have to see how this performs in the ‘real world.’ With widespread use, it should ‘learn’ and become progressively more effective.”

UC Berkeley professor of infectious disease and vaccinology Dr. John Swartzberg, who did not work on the study but says it could start helping doctors with care plans.

For a complete list of category symptoms, click on our source page. The study is not "peer reviewed" – an important step that helps validate medical research. In the midst of the pandemic, many studies released to the public have not been peer reviewed as scientists have scrambled to understand this new illness.

Researchers identify 6 distinctive clusters of COVID-19 symptoms

1. Flu-like with no fever: Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.

2. Flu-like with fever: Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.

3. Gastrointestinal: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.

4. Severe level 1, fatigue: Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.

5. Severe level 2, confusion: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.

6. Severe level 3, abdominal and respiratory: Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

by Jenna Lee,