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The One Sure Sign You Have COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

Virus symptoms Dr. Fauci wants you to be aware of.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Just as COVID-19 cases are dropping across the U.S. and pandemic restrictions are being lifted, experts are warning of a new surge thanks to the Omicron BA.2 subvariant currently spreading across Europe and Asia. "Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody," says Dr. Anthony Fauci. Here is what Dr. Fauci says are clear symptoms of COVID-19. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Stuffy Nose and Sore Throat

Young woman having flu

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 closely mirror those of cold and flu—but with much more serious outcomes, Dr. Fauci says. "The scope of the seriousness of this infection is extraordinary—from people who get a stuffy nose and a little sore throat and ache, and they get better to people who spend 14 days with a sustained fever and come out wiped out with a postviral dystonia, to people who have serious lung involvement that either puts them in the hospital or creates intubation needs and intensive care," says Dr Fauci.


Long COVID Symptoms

Vertigo illness concept. Man hands on his head felling headache dizzy sense of spinning dizziness,a problem with the inner ear, brain, or sensory nerve pathway.

"We do know for absolutely certain that there is a post-COVID syndrome," Dr. Fauci says. "Anywhere from 25% to 35%—or more—have lingering symptoms well beyond what you would expect from any post viral syndrome like influenza and others. It's fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle aches, dysautonomia, sleep disturbances and what people refer to as brain fog."


You're Not Vaccinated

Patient refuses to take vaccination.

People who are not vaccinated or boosted run the risk of a significantly higher risk of COVID-19 infection and complications, experts warn. "If we want to be able to have a buffer against the possibility of there being a resurgence, there are things that we can do right now about that," Dr. Fauci tells CNN's Jake Tapper. "If you look at the percentage of people per hundred thousand who are hospitalized and or die and compare the unvaccinated with the vaccinated, with the vaccine boosted, the line splits dramatically… but they're striking in the difference between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. There's no doubt about that."

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Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis


Virus experts are warning there is a strong link between COVID-19 and diabetes, something doctors are still trying to understand. "There are a number of factors that seem to be associated in recent studies with long COVID, ranging from things like type two diabetes to viral load… as well as things like autoantibodies. We don't really understand very much, but we're learning literally on a week by week, month by month basis," Dr. Fauci said during a press briefing on February 16.

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Sometimes There Are No Symptoms, or More Symptoms

happy couple toasts wine glasses on beach

Dr. Fauci has warned that symptoms of long COVID are not always obvious—people could be dealing with long-term complications and not realize it. "Now over the last year we know that you don't necessarily have to be hospitalized to get long COVID, that it ranges from people who are mildly to moderately symptomatic to individuals who are actually requiring hospitalization," Dr Fauci says. Or: Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting

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How to Stay Safe Out There


Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan