Longitudinal symptom dynamics of COVID-19 infection
Barak Mizrahi; Smadar Shilo; Hagai Rossman (et al.)
Published: December 2020
Journal: Nature Communications
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, obtaining information on symptoms dynamics is of
essence. Here, we extracted data from primary-care electronic health records and nationwide
distributed surveys to assess the longitudinal dynamics of symptoms prior to and throughout
SARS-CoV-2 infection. Information was available for 206,377 individuals, including 2471
positive cases. The two datasources were discordant, with survey data capturing most of the
symptoms more sensitively. The most prevalent symptoms included fever, cough and fatigue.
Loss of taste and smell 3 weeks prior to testing, either self-reported or recorded by physicians, were the most discriminative symptoms for COVID-19. Additional discriminative
symptoms included self-reported headache and fatigue and a documentation of syncope,
rhinorrhea and fever. Children had a significantly shorter disease duration. Several symptoms
were reported weeks after recovery. By a unique integration of two datasources, our study
shed light on the longitudinal course of symptoms experienced by cases in primary care.