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VERIFY: Overall health, immune system and unknowns can affect COVID-19

A local infectious disease specialist verified a person’s overall health, immune system and unknown factors can influence the severity of COVID symptoms.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — COVID-19 transmissions remain on the rise in North Carolina with more than 53,000 total confirmed cases (including more than 37,000 recoveries) as of Monday, June 22. Symptoms range from none to low-grade fever to trouble breathing.

RELATED: Coronavirus in North Carolina: NCDHHS concerned about rising trends as safer-at-home deadline looms


Good Morning Show viewer Angela Swift asked via Facebook, "Can you VERIFY this? I'm wondering why some people test positive for COVID-19 and show no symptoms, when others test positive, show symptoms and are eventually hospitalized and put on a respirator? What causes this?"

Credit: WFMY via Angela Safrit



Infectious disease expert, Dr. Chris Ohl, explained the stark variation in symptoms is not unique to COVID-19.

"It's really that way for all bacterial and viral infections, actually. This has to do with how healthy the host is, and how well their immune system can fight infections," he said.

Also affecting COVID-19 severity is how much of the virus transmitted to the person initially. He noted there are other factors doctors and researchers likely "just don't understand so well yet."


A number of factors, including overall health and immune system, account for the wide range of COVID-19 symptoms exhibited in positive cases. 

The CDC said symptoms can appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

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