Covid: Dr Hilary Jones provides update as UK infection rates rise
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Speaking to Birmingham Live, Dr Tara Hurst, Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at Birmingham City University, shared why there could be a kind of “Covid lottery”. “There is a population who say they’ve never had Covid and then there are those poor souls who’ve had it several times,” she said. “It is a very complex area which is now attracting a lot of research.”
Here are seven reasons why someone might have never ‘officially’ caught Covid.
They’ve had Covid but didn’t realise it
Dr Hurst said many people who claim to have never had coronavirus probably have had it. “There’s a high chance they had it but didn’t have any symptoms,” she said. “I’d say that between 45 to 90 percent of people who think they’ve never had it actually have, but were asymptomatic.”
She explained that one study found that 45 percent of people who tested positive actually had no symptoms. And once you’ve been vaccinated, there is no way of knowing if you have ever had Covid.
You thought you just had a cold
Then there’s another group of people who did have Covid but just dismissed it as a cold because as the pandemic continued, the list of symptoms changed. Dr Hurst commented: “Not everyone had a cough or lost their sense of smell and taste. As the different variants arrived, so did the different symptoms and many sufferers would have just shrugged off their Covid, saying, ‘It’s just a cold.’”
Not everyone gets tested
Testing was vital in recording the official rates in the population. However, some people were testing regularly for work, while others have never taken a test or only taken laterals – which aren’t as reliable as PCR tests.
They’re genetically different
Dr Hurst said there’s also a very special – but small – group of people who have never had Covid and haven’t been vaccinated. She said: “These people are very rare indeed and there’s something going on with their bodies which means they can get the virus but it doesn’t affect their cells, which means they don’t actually develop Covid.”
Their ‘negative’ test was wrong
As the pandemic continued, the most common way to find out if you had Covid was the lateral flow test (LFT), but LFTs weren’t as reliable and accurate as the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests.
Some medics said LFTs were only 40 percent accurate – which means millions of people who had a negative result could in fact have been positive.
They’re super healthy
Dr Hurst said those who had not had any Covid symptoms, or never caught it, could be regarded as “super healthy”. But it’s more likely they have a more robust immune system. “This could be down to their genetics, but essentially they have an immune system which is super strong and fights the virus,” she said.
“They will have good general health, with factors such as good levels of vitamins C and D. Stress is also a huge factor in this, as high levels of stress can have a negative impact on the immune system.”
They behave differently
Of course, the way you live and behave can have a big impact on whether you catch Covid.
Measures such as wearing a mask when out in public, avoiding large crowds, getting vaccinated and not getting too close to strangers are all proven to reduce your chances of getting the virus.
Just like the common cold, if you live in the countryside and don’t come into close contact with people very often, then you’re less likely to get it.
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