Friday, 22 Sep 2023

Covid symptoms: Centaurus sub-variant identified – signs of infection

Coronavirus: UK infections are up but does it matter?

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Just like the common cold, COVID-19 also results in a sore throat and a headache leading many to think they have a cold when they actually have Covid and vice versa.

However, according to the team behind the UK’s ZOE Covid Symptom Study app which collects data from the public about symptoms, there is a way to determine whether a sore throat is being caused by Covid or a cold.

They say a sore throat caused by Covid lasts no more than five days and will normally improve “quite quickly” and will feel “worse on the first day of infection but get better on each following day”.

If the sore throat lasts for longer than five days, they add it is more likely to not be COVID-19.

What are the other tell-tale signs of COVID-19?

According to the NHS, other symptoms of COVID-19 to look out for include:
• A high temperature or shivering
• A new, continuous cough
• A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
• Shortness of breath
• Feeling tired or exhausted
• An aching body
• A headache
• A blocked or runny nose
• Loss of appetite
• Diarrhoea
• Feeling or being sick.

What should you do if you test positive for COVID-19?

With the lifting of all restrictions, there are no longer any legal requirements to self-isolate after diagnosis with COVID-19.

However, the NHS says people should: “Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and either a high temperature or they do not feel well enough to conduct normal activities.”

They also add people should: “Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.”

Why is there so much talk about COVID-19 at the moment?

The answer is simple; cases are skyrocketing.

In the past week the UK recorded its highest number of cases since mass testing began.

This has been driven by two subvariants of Omicron known as BA.4 and BA.5; these have already ravaged South Africa and are beginning to do the same in the UK.

Furthermore, there are concerns about another subvariant of Omicron known as BA.2.75, a variant already nicknamed “Centaurus”.

The reason why Centaurus is of concern is because it contains a significant number of mutations.

Dr Stephen Griffin of the University of Leeds says: “This could mean that it has had the chance to evolve an advantage over an already successful virus lineage.”

What all this translates into is the trampling of the notion that Covid is over; in almost every sense these three new variants are teaching the world that it very much isn’t.

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