Rob Gregson, 52, of South Orange, N.J., went to bed feeling under the weather and woke up with chest tightness, a “weird” cough, difficulty breathing and “crazy fatigue.” It was March 11, just before lockdowns were imposed, and he immediately suspected Covid-19. But because he never had a fever, it took him more than a week to find a doctor to help and get a swab test. He tested positive.
“It’s been the fatigue that is the most debilitating,” said Mr. Gregson, executive director of a faith-based nonprofit, adding that he’s still struggling to regain his stamina nearly five months later. “I’ve been on the coronavirus roller coaster, feeling better and thinking I’ll be OK, then it comes roaring back.”
When Erin, a 30-year-old who works for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., first developed a cough and headache in May, she wasn’t worried. “I did not have a fever, and I’d been very diligent about wearing a mask and washing my hands, so I figured it was allergies or a cold at the beginning,” she said.
About four days after the cough began, Erin was hit with severe fatigue, sore throat, congestion, chills, body aches and a slight loss of sense of smell — but still no fever. She also had one unusual symptom: severe pain in her hip muscles, which she described as “really weird.”
Although body aches are a common symptom of Covid-19, some patients are reporting severe joint and body pain, particularly in large muscles. Although it’s rare, Covid-19 can cause painful inflammation in the joints or lead to rhabdomyolysis, a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that can cause excruciating muscle pain in the shoulders, thighs or lower back.
A New York cyclist who developed severe leg pain in May was initially diagnosed via telemedicine with a bulging disc. She sought a second telemedicine opinion with Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who asked her to move, twist and put pressure on her legs as he watched her on video.