If someone happens to catch COVID-19 when we're on the other side of the curves -- when deaths and new infections are slowing -- would their symptoms somehow be less severe?

A milder fever? A weaker cough?

Sorry for the naivety in the question.

  • Welcome to stack. Please edit and remove "I" and ask generical. "If someone" not you. This is a forum for pedagogical/research purposes not for giving personal medical advice.
    – user19086
    Apr 3, 2020 at 19:54
  • 1
    @Universal_learnerfoldinghome good tip, I've just edited - thanks
    – user19164
    Apr 3, 2020 at 19:56
  • I think the answer is no. If it were yes, then this virus would have arrived in a 'weaker' form, from China to another places like Spain or USA, but that's clearly not true. The virus is as bad as it was in China Apr 3, 2020 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


There are about 8 common strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in circulation. It appears to be mutating slowly based on phylogenetic analyses and each mutation appears to be the same in terms of clinical disease and lethality.

So, there is no expectation that if you catch the disease late in its spread that the clinical disease is going to be any different from any other time that it's caught.

Now, more diversity is emerging. Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 evolves over time through random mutations, only some of which are caught and corrected by the virus’s error correction machinery. Over the length of its 30,000-base-pair genome, SARS-CoV-2 accumulates an average of about one to two mutations per month, Rambaut says. “It’s about two to four times slower than the flu,” he says. Using these little changes, researchers can draw up phylogenetic trees, much like family trees. They can also make connections between different cases of COVID-19 and gauge whether there might be undetected spread of the virus.


  • "SARS-CoV-2 accumulates an average of about one to two mutations per month" what could this imply? Apr 3, 2020 at 22:49
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    It's a slow mutation rate so may mean a single vaccine is all we need. Apr 3, 2020 at 22:53
  • what would happen if it were a fast mutation rate? Apr 3, 2020 at 22:57
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    Then we have influenza Apr 3, 2020 at 22:59
  • alright, thank you Apr 3, 2020 at 23:03

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