Now that the Delta variant makes up for over 90% of the total COVID cases in the UK, researchers have discovered that there has also been a change in the symptoms being felt by those who have been infected with this mutation.
Delta variant symptoms
The COVID symptom study application, which is run by health science company Zoe, has been tracking COVID symptoms with the help of their 4 million contributors, and their data has disclosed that catching COVID now feels like a 'bad cold.' Founder of Zoe, Tim Spector—a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London—says:
Covid is … acting differently now, it’s more like a bad cold.
So, what’s really important to realise is that since the start of May, we’ve been looking at the top symptoms in all the app users, and they’re not the same as they were. So, the number one symptom is headache … followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever.
Previously the top COVID symptoms, as reported by the NHS, were fever, cough, and loss of smell. But, the study has found that cough was bumped down to the fifth most common symptom, while loss of smell didn’t even make it to the top 10.
Number five is cough, it's rarer. And we don't even see loss of smell coming into the top 10 anymore. This variant seems to be working slightly differently.
Reason behind UK’s surge
Spector believes that the sudden rise of cases in the UK might be due to the fact that COVID is now presenting itself as a seasonalcold. On top of that, the government has not yet issued a notice about these developments so many people are unaware that their cold might actually be a COVID infection. He adds:
People don't realise that and [it] hasn't come across in the government information. This means that people might think they've just got some sort of seasonal cold, and they still go out to parties, and they might spread around to six other people.
I think the message here is that if you’re young and getting milder symptoms any way, it might just feel like a bad cold or some funny feeling … do stay at home and do get a test.