Causes & symptoms

COVID-19 is most often spread from person to person via airborne droplets from the nose or mouth. It is also possible to get COVID-19 by coming into contact with surfaces that have the virus present. 

Most people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms, but some people will have more severe symptoms. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. The most common signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Tiredness

  • Early symptoms of COVID-19 may include a loss of taste or smell

Symptoms can range from very mild to severe. Some people may experience worsened symptoms, such as worsened shortness of breath and pneumonia, about a week after symptoms start.

See our fact sheet which differentiates common symptoms of the flu (influenza), pneumonia and COVID-19.

Page Last Updated: 30/01/2021