Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

People suffering from a horrible bout of cold might actually have covid without realising it, a top scientist has warned.

As the Manchester Evening News has reported hundreds of people across the North West have been floored by the fierce return of the common cold.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the the ‘worst lurgy ever’ has spread widely, possibly fuelled by a dip in immunity after a year and a half of social distancing and mask wearing limited its potential to infect.

“Absolutely awful, never felt a cold like it,” one M.E.N. reader reported.

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“I even had shooting pains all over my body for the first two days.

“I’m three weeks in now and although I’m not suffering with it now, I can definitely still feel it in my throat and nose.”

But it may be that those currently in the grips of the familiar symptoms are not actually suffering from a cold, but Covid-19, the Mirror reports.

Research from the ZOE Covid App in the UK shows that the top five symptoms for those who have had both coronavirus vaccines but still contract the virus are a headache, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and loss of smell.

Professor Tim Spector, lead scientists on the ZOE Covid study app, warned that confusing Covid for a cold was easy to do, and could help the virus to spread.

“The UK still has more cases than most of Europe and I believe this is for two main reasons; the first is a lack of masks and social distancing and the second is because we’re ignorant of the symptoms,” he told The Mirror.

“We should be looking out for things like sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. The classic three – cough, fever and anosmia are rarer these days, yet the government has done nothing.

“By not updating advice, we’re letting people into care homes, schools, workplaces and large gatherings displaying known signs of Covid.

“Roughly, 1 in 80 people in the UK have Covid. If we don’t wake up to the fact these cold-like symptoms could be Covid, we will continue to keep numbers high, putting unnecessary strain on an exhausted NHS.”

Shortness of breath, a fever and a persistent cough – the signs of a case of Covid Brits were first told to look out for last Spring – are now the 29th, 12th and 8th most common symptom respectively.

The double jabbed Covid symptoms have much more in common with those of a cold, which the NHS says include a blocked or runny nose, a sore throat, headaches, coughs and a loss of smell.

The similarities between symptoms has led some to question what exactly has made them ill.

The double-jabbed readers’ concerns that they have the disease are not without grounds.

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Despite the remarkable effectiveness of the Covid jabs when it comes to stopping hospitalisations and deaths, their ability to block mild, breakthrough cases is not total.

As the months after vaccinations go by, the protection against less severe cases wanes particularly.

A study published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine in the US found that its effectiveness against any symptomatic disease dropped from 90 per cent to 65 per cent as the Delta variant took hold in the country.

A large part of that fall may be due to waning protection from jabs, with studies showing anti-bodies fall significantly after two months of having a second dose of Pfizer.

That means that, with close to 70% of the UK population double jabbed, millions of people will likely catch the bug and endure mild symptoms.

Now that Delta is by the far the dominant variant in the country, there’s a good chance they’ll suffer symptoms similar to those of a cold.

Dr Robert Wachter, who chairs the Department of Medicine at the University of California, warned that even such mild cases can be unpleasant.

“(Mild could mean) a day of feeling crummy to being completely laid up in bed for a week, all of your bones hurt and your brain isn’t working well,” he told NPR.

“So even if we call them mild cases, as you’ve seen, sometimes these are ones you really don’t want to have if you can avoid it.”

Confusion about testing results means those who are enduring a cold may not be certain whether it is in fact a case of Covid.

In the South West of England multiple people reported getting a positive lateral flow test result, only for their follow-up PCR to come up negative.

It is not clear why the results were inconsistent.

Public health officials have advised that those who test positive and then negative should assume they have Covid and isolate.

Becky Reynolds, the director of public health for Bath and North East Somerset council, told the BBC: “The advice is also to think about your local situation, do an individual risk assessment … so what is the likelihood that even though the PCR is negative, that you may still have Covid?

“If thinking it through there is quite a chance you have Covid, even if the PCR is coming back negative, then regard it as Covid and self-isolate.”

The UKHSA warned that no test is 100% accurate but said the chances of a false positive remain low.

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