Skip to content

Sure Signs You Have COVID Now, According to Patients

This is what COVID feels like.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

BA.5 is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the US, and far more transmissible than previous variants. "The main reason this variant has become the predominant one that is now circulating is that it is able to evade previous immunity," says Dean Blumberg, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital. "Even people who have partial immunity from a previous infection or vaccination can still have a breakthrough infection." Here are five sure signs you have COVID now. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Upset Stomach

middle aged woman sitting on bed with stomach pain
Shutterstock / fizkes

GI issues are frequently reported as one of the more common signs of COVID-19. "I just thought it was anxiety and nerves, since I had just heard the news about coronavirus in New York, so I paid it no mind," says Brittany Boccio, 31, from Laurel Hollow, NY, who also felt muscle aches at the time. "I didn't think I had coronavirus because I'm 31 and healthy, and I'm a nonsmoker with no prior medical issues."


Restless Nights

Sick young woman lying in the bed covered with blanket

Sleep issues are another common symptom of COVID-19. "I distinctly remember how it started: we came back from grocery shopping on a Friday and I was looking forward to a quiet weekend," says Jignesh A. Patel, MD, chief cardiology fellow at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. "While watching the evening news, I experienced a few bouts of dry cough and felt feverish. My first instinct at that moment was to isolate myself from my wife and two-year-old daughter. Nights in particular were hard with a sense of extreme fatigue and temperature crossing 101 frequently. On day five, I noticed wheezing and difficulty talking, which progressed quickly over the next two days to shortness of breath and difficulty lying down."


High Fever

Wife taking wife’s temperature

Some people experience fever when infected with the virus. "When I first came down with symptoms of COVID-19, my attitude was I could push through it on my own," says Ronald Hill, 71, from Fresno, California. Was I wrong! I came down with the virus in mid-March, after attending a family funeral in Los Angeles where a couple of cousins had been infected with COVID but weren't yet showing symptoms. A few days later, I began running a high fever. I called my doctor, who sent me for X-rays and lab tests. It turns out I had pneumonia — although I wasn't yet having trouble breathing — and was positive for COVID-19."


Fatigue and Shortness of Breath

Woman feeling bad and trying to sleep

Fatigue and trouble breathing could be signs of COVID-19. "When I first began experiencing tremendous fatigue and shortness of breath, in mid-March, my first fear wasn't that I had come down with COVID-19: It was that I was having a relapse of CLL [chronic lymphocytic leukemia], the blood cancer I'd been successfully treated for in 2006," says Paul Levine, 86, from New York City. "But when I called my oncologist, he asked me a strange question: How did my food taste? When I told him everything tastes terrible, he instructed me to go the hospital. My son drove me to Mount Sinai West in New York City, where I tested positive for COVID-19."



Sick woman holding her throat.

The combination of cough and fever are strongly linked to the COVID-19 virus, based on patient testimonies. "Our ordeal began on Tuesday, March 10, when we both came down with a cough and a fever," says Georgene Stephens, 70, from Clarksville, Maryland. "A week later I was feeling better, but [husband] Gerry was struggling to breathe. (Although we are both 70 and in good health, Gerry does have asthma.) We went to a local hospital, where they tested us both for COVID-19."


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