COVID-19 FAQs, page 5
5. What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19? What is the incubation period for this disease?
The signs and symptoms of COVID-19 closely resemble those of influenza and other lower respiratory illnesses. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, these are followed by severe acute respiratory syndrome and, in some cases, death. Any person presenting with these symptoms and having an increased risk for COVID-19 should be evaluated. At this time, due to the very high rates of seasonal influenza in the U.S., the overwhelming number of cases presenting with these symptoms will be cases of the flu. However, until ruled out, COVID-19 should be considered in the differential diagnosis. According to the CDC, the incubation period of SARS-CoV-2 is thought to be similar to that of MERS, which is two to 14 days.