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9 Signs of a Delta Infection, Says Dr. Fauci

Watch for these signs and get tested if you feel any.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Spotting the signs of a coronavirus infection—particularly this "more transmissible" Delta variant—is essential, to save your life and the life of those around you. "Our seven day average of cases is about 146,000 per day. Our seven day average of hospital admissions is approximately 11,165 per day. And our seven day average of daily deaths has increased to 1,448 per day," said the CDC chief yesterday. Don't become one of them. Read on so you know which signs of a Delta infection to worry about, according to virus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


You May Have a Fever

Woman being sick having flu lying on sofa looking at temperature on thermometer. Sick woman lying in bed with high fever.

Fever—of 100.4 degrees or higher—is the most common symptom but "you may or may not have fever," says Fauci. "And I don't think you need to rely on fever—that if you don't have a fever, you're okay. Because plenty of people in the very early period of time don't have fever." You may also get "chills," says Fauci.


You May Have a Cough

Man lying on bed at home, high fever and coughing.

A cough—typically dry and without mucus—is another common symptom of COVID-19 according to Dr. Fauci. He once maintained that 59-82% of those infected with the virus experience it as a symptom. This cough may last a while. "Sometimes it takes a while to get everything back to normal," Dr. Fauci said of a COVID cough.


You May Have a Muscle or Body Aches

young woman with kidney pain

"We're looking at some pain and suffering in the future because we're seeing the cases go up," said Fauci. That pain can be literal. Dr. Fauci has described muscle or body aches as "myalgia" and they are common among COVID cases. 


You May Lose Your Sense of Smell or Taste

Portrait of young woman smelling a fresh and sweet nectarine

"Many people now have this curious loss of smell and taste," said Fauci. In one study, "at least 61% of the patients reported reduced or lost sense of smell, according to principal investigator Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a UC Health physician specializing in otolaryngology," according to Infectious Disease Special Edition. "The mean onset for reduction or loss in sense of smell was 3.4 days." "We also found in this study that the severity of the loss of smell is correlated with how bad your other COVID-19 symptoms will be," Dr. Sedaghat said, "with worsening anosmia being linked to patient reports of more severe shortness of breath, fever and cough."


You May Have Shortness of Breath

in pain touching chest respiratory symptoms fever, coughing, body aches

In one of the scariest symptoms of COVID, the virus can literally take your breath away. Fauci says you may experience "maybe some fullness in your upper airway." Since COVID is a respiratory disease, it can target your lungs. Although it's advised to stay home during mild cases of COVID, if you cannot breathe, seek emergency treatment.

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You May Have a Sore Throat

Sick man having sore throat.

Dr. Fauci describes this as "sore throat, kind of a scratchy feeling." Again, since it can resemble a cold or flu, your doctor will likely administer a diagnostic test or COVID test to determine if it's indeed the coronavirus.

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You May Have a GI Symptoms

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home

"…with vomiting and diarrhea," says Dr. Fauci. These have been said to be either the initial symptoms or the final symptoms; in any case, they are a common feature of COVID-19.

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You May Have Fatigue

woman feeling sick and uncomfortable in bed

Dr. Fauci has warned of fatigue for both COVID patients and Long COVID patients (read more about Long COVID on the next slide). You may also have an inability to wake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to difficulty breathing or chest pain, if you or someone you know with COVID are experiencing new confusion or an inability to wake up or stay awake, you should seek emergency medical care immediately. Those symptoms might indicate that COVID has caused inflammation in the brain.

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You May Have a Long COVID Afterwards, Says Dr. Fauci

Fatigued woman lying at bedstead

"Long COVID is a constellation of signs and symptoms characterized particularly by extreme fatigue, unexplained shortness of breath, muscle aches, dysautonomia—which is temperature dysregulation, or unexplained tachycardia—sleep disturbances, depression and anxiety, and what referred to as brain fog or an inability to concentrate. So what are we doing about this quite serious situation that we're facing now, given the numbers of people infected…two days ago, the NIH announced the awarding of $470 million to build a national study population cohort to study the long-term effects of COVID-19. The funding was supported by the American Rescue Plan and the parent award is going to NYU Langone Health. They will then make many up to 30 or more sub awards to institutions that will serve as the core of this recovery, clinical science."

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You May Have No Symptoms But Could Infect Others

mature women eating dinner together smiling

"This is a bit of a confusing virus, because I've never seen one in which the protean manifestations are so extreme," Dr. Fauci said last year. You might have an asymptomatic infection—"they don't even know they're infected unless they get tested. Then you get some that get minor symptoms, moderate symptoms, severe symptoms, hospitalization and death." He said to everyone: "You've got to think not only out of your vacuum, and think of not only your personal responsibilities, but your societal responsibilities. Because although you may not get sick, almost certainly you're going to infect somebody else, who almost certainly infects somebody else. And then you will get a vulnerable person who will be sick, who will go to the hospital, who might die. So the best way to reopen the country and to get back to normal is to be very prudent in protecting yourself from getting infected." Get vaccinated.

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What to Do if You Fear You're Infected

Doctor and senior woman wearing facemasks

Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any of the symptoms mentioned here, or talk to your medical professional. And stay home otherwise. "Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas," says the CDC. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek