Delta variant symptoms: Signs of COVID-19 could be different with Indian strain
Written by Hitmix News on 17 June 2021
As the Delta (Indian) variant becomes dominant across the UK, the researcher behind the ZOE COVID Symptom Study has said the virus is “acting differently now”.
Professor Tim Spector, the co-founder of ZOE, has said “people don’t realise this and it hasn’t come across in any of the government information”, meaning people might think they have “some sort of seasonal cold” instead of COVID-19.
The app was launched in 2020 with scientific analysis provided by King’s College London.
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Who is getting infected with the Delta variant and how ill are they becoming?
It’s the world’s largest ongoing study of COVID-19 with over four million global contributors logging information such as symptoms, tests and vaccines.
Are symptoms of the Delta variant different?
The classic signs of coronavirus reported since the start of the pandemic have been loss of smell or taste, a new persistent cough, and a fever, but Prof Spector has said data collected on the app since the start of May shows these are less common now.
A headache, sore throat and runny nose are now thought to be symptoms of the virus, according to data collected by ZOE, instead of a cough and loss of smell or taste – though a fever is still common.
Last week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Delta variant now makes up 91% of new cases amid a warning from Public Health England that infections are rising “rapidly”.
So, what are the most common symptoms of the Delta variant?
According to Prof Spector, a headache is now the most reported symptom, followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever.
A cough is even rarer, coming in at the fifth most reported symptom and loss of taste or smell doesn’t even make it into the top 10.
For the younger population, contracting COVID-19 feels more like a “bad cold” leading some to “still go out to parties and spread it to around six other people”, Prof Spector explained.
He continued to say the data shows the Delta variant is “actually much more transmissible than many experts thought” with the latest estimates suggesting it is around twice as transmissible as the original variant.
“We think this is fuelling a lot of the problem.
“This is a very sticky virus and it is explaining in a way why it has done so much damage in such a short time.”
An ‘off feeling’
The professor also noted a “funny off feeling” being a reason to stay at home.
He said: “The message here is if you are young, and you are going to get milder symptoms anyway, it might just feel like a bad cold or a funny off feeling, but do stay at home and do get a test.”
The government website says people can get a lateral flow test
• by collecting one from a test site
• picking one up from a pharmacy (in England only)
• or by visiting a site to get a test done
Prof Spector said: “This is really important to reduce the transmission of this virus particularly in the young, by people acting sensibly.
“So if you feel unwell just stay at home for a few days until it passes.”
If people suspect they have COVID-19, they must isolate and get a test at a testing facility or order a home-test kit.
What about vaccines?
As of 15 June, a total of 72,040,763 vaccine doses have been administered in the UK, with 41,831,056 people receiving their first jab and 30,209,707 receiving their second.
Professor Spector said on 9 June: “This is a current epidemic of the young and the unvaccinated – the main increase this week has been in 20 to 29-year-old age group and most cases are still in the under 40-year-olds.
“There is still good protection from double vaccination, we are not seeing as much protection as earlier in the year from a single vaccination”.
He urged people to get vaccinated and not to delay having their second dose, saying this is “a reason not to be complacent if you have just had that first shot”.