As the delta COVID-19 variant, first identified in India, rapidly spreads across the world, becoming the dominant strain in several countries, an expert says there are new symptoms to look for.
Physician and volunteer teacher at the US University of Oklahoma Dr. George Monks took to Twitter to let people know that he noticed some differences in the symptoms of delta COVID-19 infections.
“The delta variant has slightly different symptoms compared to the original virus,” he tweeted, adding that those infected with the strain “may not get the loss of taste [and] smell.”
Monks also said the variant “could cause issues like a cough, shortness of breath, fever, body aches, congestion, and more,” urging people to get tested if they exhibited any of these symptoms.
According to the doctor, it was important for people who were worried about COVID-19 to wear masks as it is the easiest way to stay safe, especially if they are not fully vaccinated against the virus.
“If you are still hesitant or have some questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please talk to your physician. The COVID vaccine is safe and very effective at keeping you out of the hospital and keeping you alive. Getting COVID is risky,” he wrote.
Delta variant continues to spread
The United States is now recording an average of 100,000 cases per day, up from an 11,000 daily infections average in June, with experts attributing the spread to the delta COVID-19 variant, the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
The World Health Organization reported on Wednesday that the variant has been detected in over 80 countries, causing it to mutate further as it continues to spread.
Public Health England (PHE) warned in June that data suggested that the variant was 64 percent more transmissible indoors than the Alpha variant and that vaccines were less effective against it.
Echoing Monks’ sentiment, the WHO also stated on Wednesday that there were reports of the delta strain causing more severe symptoms than traditional COVID but added that more research needed to be conducted before it could confirm the conclusion.
Since the pandemic’s onset, governments across the world have warned people to watch out for the main symptoms that indicated a COVID-19 infections, including a fever, loss of taste and smell and a persistent cough.
The US’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its list of symptoms, which now includes fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose or congestion, body aches, nausea, and diarrhea as possible COVID-19 symptoms.
In a YouTube briefing last week, genetic epidemiology professor at King’s College London in the United Kingdom, Tim Spector, noted that the virus was “acting differently now.”
“It’s more like a bad cold in this younger population and people don’t realize that and that hasn’t come across in any of the government information,” he warned.
Referencing the Zoe Covid Symptom study, being conducted by him and a team of experts, which enables people to input their COVID-19 symptoms into an app to allow for data analysis on the matter, Spector said: “Since the start of May, we have been looking at the top symptoms in the app users and they are not the same as they were. The number one symptom is headache, then followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever.”
He added that traditional COVID-19 symptoms such as a cough and loss of smell or taste were rarer now.