Are symptoms of the COVID-19 Delta variant different from the symptoms usually associated with the virus?
The New York Times spoke to health workers and experts who detailed the most prevalent symptoms they are seeing right now in patients sick with COVID.
At the start of the pandemic issues like a loss of taste and smell, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and fatigue were usually the hallmark signs of an infection, but what about now? Currently, the information available is largely anecdotal and the NYT acknowledges, "There is little data on this question and much left to untangle," but there appear to be some common and recurring symptoms in people who are infected with the Delta variant.
Epidemiologist Dr. Andrew T. Chan, who is a lead investigator with the Covid Symptom Study (which tracks and monitors the symptoms of millions of people from Britain, America, and Sweden who have COVID) says, "The symptoms we are seeing now are much more commonly identified with the common cold,” noting there have been more reports of runny noses and sneezing.
Additionally, high rates of people in the study report experiencing headaches and sore throats, while fevers and a loss of taste and smell appear to happen less often.
The NYT times reports in New York state, the symptoms seen in kids remain largely similar to the symptoms from the start of the pandemic with fevers, coughs, fatigue, headaches, and sore throats being reported. Thus far, young people with more severe symptoms appear to be occurring in unvaccinated adolescents, particularly with teens with underlying conditions.
Dr. Adam Ratner, the director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at N.Y.U. Langone, urges parents to be diligent about testing their child (and the entire family) if the child is experiencing any COVID symptoms. Additionally, it is important that everyone in the family stay home and isolated until they receive negative test results.
Being diligent about testing also applies to adults with mild symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated, say the NYT's experts.
“It’s a time to be humble about the fact that this is a new variant. We’re still learning,” Dr. Mark Mulligan, the director of the N.Y.U. Langone Vaccine Center and the chief of infectious diseases at N.Y.U. Langone Health, says. “Be cautious and err on the side of caution in terms of going ahead and getting a test.”
*Free COVID tests are available in most areas. Check with your healthcare provider, or your local county or state public health website for more information about a no-cost COVID test near you, or at your local pharmacy like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid -- all of which are offering no-cost COVID tests.