COVID-19 Signs, Symptoms, Strains, & Treatments, According To A Medical Doctor

As told by a medical doctor on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 Signs, Symptoms, Strains, & Treatments, According To A Medical Doctor EVG photos via @pexels

I'm a doctor who has been working diligently to provide the public with information on the Coronavirus as well as preparing staff, families, and patients with updated information on COVID-19 safety and precautions.

Here is relevant information on the Coronavirus pandemic, and what you need to know.

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As Chair of Family Medicine at Orlando Regional Medical Center and CEO/Founder of Littleton Concierge Medicine, I have observed, researched, and have been on the ground first-hand working with Coronavirus (COVID-19 Virus or SARS-CoV-2) patients as we deal with this pandemic as a nation.

What is Coronavirus?

It is a virus that has caused severe morbidity and mortality nationwide. It is a concern that has caused a great economic downturn, which we have not seen in decades.

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This has not only affected those infected with the virus but it has altered, in some aspect, each of our lives. Mass commerce closing. Schools shut down. Mandated home-stays.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us into a new normal.

How many strains of the Coronavirus are out there?

The 2019 Coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that belongs to a larger umbrella of viruses called Coronaviridae.

Coronaviridae also includes:

The MERS (Middle East Respiratory Virus, which surfaced around 2012-2013)

SARS-CoV-1 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which was surfaced near the beginning of this century)

There are four common strains of this virus that affect humans.

  • 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  • NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  • OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  • HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

Why is it called the Coronavirus?

The name Corona derives its name from a crown or the sunburst of the sun, which describes the spike-like surface of the virus envelope composed of surface proteins.


These viruses are found in mammals and birds and it is believed that SARS-CoV-2 transmission started in a bat in the Wuhan province of China to humans.

From Wuhan, China the infection spread globally resulting in the pandemic we see today.

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Signs and Symptoms of SARS-CoV-2

People infected by the 2019 Coronavirus may subjectively report the following:

  • fever
  • chills
  • lethargy or tiredness
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • difficulty breathing among the most common symptoms.

However, there have been some reports of anosmia (loss of smell) and dysgeusia (loss of taste) in patients, which is not uncommon in allergic rhinitis, the common cold or flu.


Gastrointestinal manifestations are thought to be possible as well.

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What is the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2?

The incubation period ranges from 2 to 14 days approximately differing in each individual, some people who get infected never illustrate symptoms of the virus.

What surfaces can the COVID-19 virus contaminate?

Evidence has shown that it can contaminate metal, glass, and even cloth.

We know that it can live on our skin, which makes hand-washing all the more important.

How can we safely disinfect the virus in our environment?

The number one thing to do is wash our hands — frequently.


Wash your hands (and face) especially, before and after you eat, use the restroom, touch your face, or do any kind of meal preparation.

We must first sanitize ourselves before we help others.

Use soap. Soap disrupts the virus envelope. An alcohol-based sanitizer will also destroy the virus.

Lysol, Clorox, or any alcohol-based wipe will also be effective to wipe down common surfaces.

Look for disinfectant wipes that contain at least 60 % alcohol to be effective.

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How to distinguish the SARS-CoV-2 infection from Allergies, Cold, and Flu

The SARS-CoV-2 infection is actually similar to allergic rhinitis.


It's also similar to the common cold and Flu in those symptoms of cough, sinus congestion, and nasal drainage are observed (sore throat seen more so in the common cold and flu as opposed to allergies).

However, one of the presentations that we are seeing that differentiates itself from allergies and the common cold, not so much the Flu.

COVID-19 causes lethargy.

Coronavirus can cause rapid decompensation in individuals that have the following commodities:

  • Hypertension
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Asthma
  • Immunodeficiencies
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Diabetes
  • and the elderly population

This virus can be devastating the above individual while rather mild or illustrating an asymptomatic presentation in children under 10 years of age and young adults only showing mild if any symptoms at all.


This is what makes the virus so difficult in that the healthy and young can act as vectors, so-to-speak, infecting those more susceptible to the disease (the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions).

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What we don’t know about the SARS-CoV-2 Virus

We don’t know how long the pandemic may last.

Some think that it is here to stay, creating what we call a new normal just like the everyday common cold and seasonal like the Flu.


We are presently researching and creating vaccines to help prevent the current SARS-CoV-2 strain.

Not knowing when the virus will mutate, new vaccines will need to be developed that match the genetic mutation when that happens.

Currently, we are trying to understand what are the effective medications to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

There are some promising fast-tracked antiviral medications such as Remdemsivir used for the treatment of Ebola virus and hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.

Both Remdemsivir, hydroxychloroquine, and chloroquine are used for the treatment of malaria with hydroxychloroquine having further use for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.


Other things we don’t know is the long-term effect that this pandemic will have on our routine daily lives.

People have questions on when children will return to school when it is safe to go outside, and when will my favorite sports team play again.

There are several unknowns, but what’s for certain, is that this is a virus that will continue to change the way we social distance and protect ourselves in our communities.

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Dr. Littleton serves as the Chair of Family Medicine at Orlando Regional Medical Center and CEO/Founder of Littleton Concierge Medicine serving patients in the Orlando area.