As the Delta variant continues to undo much of the progress the U.S. has made in coming back from the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are still uncovering things we never understood about the virus to begin with. The latest revelation, according to research released by the Journal of Gerontology, is that adults 75 years of age and older may present with a constellation of symptoms that look very different from those younger patients display. Perhaps most misleading could be atypical symptoms such as functional decline and altered mental status—both of which are more common among the elderly in general and traits that could easily be attributed to medication regimens or other disease states. Analysis of the electronic health records of 4,962 patients 65 years of age and older with COVID-19 who were admitted to Northwell Health hospitals in March and April 2020 showed that 49% of study subjects had atypical symptoms alone, while 51% had both atypical and typical symptoms (eg, shortness of breath, fever, chills, and cough).
Think You ‘Know’ COVID-19 Symptoms? If Your Patient Is Older, Think Again