It has been more than 18 months now that we have lived in a world surrounded by covid. At the start of the global pandemic, government agencies and health officials struggled to inform people on how to identify symptoms. But as the virus has evolved, it appears that even the most common symptoms have changed. Emerging data shows that people infected with the delta form of the virus are experiencing symptoms different from those that were associated with COVID at the start of the global pandemic.
This pattern is responsible for new cases of Kovid in Australia and is increasingly visible around the world. We are all different, human beings are different from each other. Like our differences, our immune systems are also different. This means that the same virus can cause different signs and symptoms in different ways. The sign is what looks like a rash. The symptom is that which feels like a sore throat. How the virus makes you sick depends on two important factors – Viral factors include the speed at which the virus replicates itself, the medium of transmission, and other factors.
‘Health and stress can affect nutritional factors’
Viral factors change with the evolution of the virus. Nutrient (person infected with virus) factors are individual based. Age, gender, medications, diet, exercise, health and stress can all affect nutritional factors. So whenever we talk about the signs and symptoms of the virus, we are talking about what is normal. In order to determine them we have to collect information from individual cases. It is important to note that there is no bias to ensure that these data are not always easy to collect or analyze.
For example, the elderly may have different symptoms from the younger ones, and patient information from hospitals may differ from patient information from a GP clinic. Now the question arises that what are the signs and symptoms similar to the delta form? Using a self-reporting system via a mobile app, information from the UK shows that the common symptoms of COVID may have changed from what we traditionally associate with the virus. Fever and cough have always been the most common symptoms of COVID, and headache and sore throat were traditionally seen in some people, but runny nose was rare in earlier data.
runny nose and sore throat symptoms of covid-19
At the same time, loss of sense of smell, which was very common in the original, is now a symptom of ninth place. There could be a few reasons behind the symptoms developing in this way. This may be because the figures were originally coming from patients going to the hospital who were more likely to get sick. And because of the higher vaccination rates for older people, the cases of covid are now more visible in young people and they are showing moderate symptoms. This may be due to the evolution of the virus and also to the different characteristics of the delta form. But the exact answer to why the symptoms are changing is not determined. We need to know more about the delta pattern, but these emerging data are necessary because it shows that what we consider to be a minor cold – runny nose and sore throat – may be a symptom of COVID-19.
(Lara Herrero, Research Guide in Virology and Infectious Disease, Griffith University)