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The main symptoms of COVID-19 appear to have changed — with headaches and sore throats now more common than fevers and coughs, according to a warning by UK experts.
“COVID is acting differently now, it’s more like a cold,” Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology who has been tracking symptoms throughout the pandemic, told the Telegraph.
Now, the most likely warning sign is a headache, followed by a sore throat and runny nose, the King’s College London professor said.
“All those are not the old classic symptoms,” he said, with the previous main indicators — a fever and cough — now respectively the fourth and fifth most likely symptoms, Spector told the UK paper.
Spector said the shift became evident last month. It’s not yet clear exactly why it has changed, although one theory is it reflects the spread of the highly contagious Indian variant, which Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned could become the most dominant one in the US.
“This variant seems to be working slightly differently,” Spector said.
Another theory is that younger people are now catching the virus and reporting milder symptoms.
Either way, the fear is that people are infected but “aren’t realizing” it, the scientist said.
“People might think they’ve got some sort of seasonal cold and they still go out to parties and they might spread it around,” he said.
In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has regularly updated its list of symptoms, with all those Spector mentioned in the list of 11 key things to watch out for.
Others include shortness of breath, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting or a loss of taste or smell. Even that “does not include all possible symptoms,” the CDC warns.
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