Two years in the past, a sneeze or a cough wouldn’t have been trigger for concern, however now even the mildest of signs can go away us questioning, “Do I’ve Covid?”
Early within the pandemic, we realized concerning the hallmark indicators of an infection, which might embrace lack of style and scent, fever, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. However what about now, greater than a yr later? Have signs modified on condition that the Delta variant is at present the most typical type of the virus in america?
There may be little information on this query and far left to untangle.
Unvaccinated sufferers make up the overwhelming majority of these hospitalized with Covid-19, so they might be extra more likely to develop extreme signs, like hassle respiration, or persistent ache or strain within the chest. In areas with decrease vaccination charges, like Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, unvaccinated kids and younger adults are being despatched to the hospital in bigger numbers than they had been at different factors through the pandemic. Researchers don’t but know for certain whether or not Delta alone is chargeable for these extreme signs or if it’s the surge in childhood infections, which may end up in extra hospitalizations.
The Delta variant is almost twice as contagious as prior variants and simply as contagious as chickenpox. It replicates quickly within the physique, and other people carry giant quantities of the virus of their nostril and throat.
Dr. Andrew T. Chan, an epidemiologist and doctor at Massachusetts Normal Hospital and one of many lead investigators of the Covid Symptom Study, has been tracking millions of people from Britain, the United States and Sweden via an app that asks participants to monitor their symptoms. A preprint using data from the study that has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, suggests that those who are vaccinated are well protected against Delta. Breakthrough infections, while rare, tend to produce milder symptoms that are of shorter duration.
Understand the Delta Variant
At this point, nearly 90 percent of the adult population in Britain has received at least one dose of the vaccine. In the United States, 71 percent of adults are partially vaccinated.
Among vaccinated adults, “the symptoms we are seeing now are much more commonly identified with the common cold,” Dr. Chan said. “We are still seeing people presenting with a cough, but we are also seeing a higher prevalence of things like runny nose and sneezing.” Headaches and sore throat are other top complaints, he added. Fever and loss of taste and smell are being reported to a lesser degree.
Dr. Chan said the researchers started to see milder reported symptoms around the time the Delta variant became prevalent in Britain, starting in the late spring, which also coincided with the country’s mass vaccination program.
Pediatricians in New York City, where 67 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, say they are seeing many of the same symptoms in children that they have seen since the start of the pandemic, and that the more severe cases tend to be among unvaccinated adolescents, especially those with underlying conditions like diabetes or obesity. Some toddlers or school-age children can get very ill from Covid too, but doctors don’t always know why one kid gets much sicker than another, said Dr. Sallie Permar, pediatrician-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.
Fever, cough, fatigue, headache and sore throat are the “classic presentation of Covid” among symptomatic children, she added.
If your child has any potential Covid symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems, arrange for both yourself and your child to get a Covid test and then stay home until the results are negative, said Dr. Adam Ratner, director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at N.Y.U. Langone.
“That’s part of how we keep schools safe,” he added.
Testing is essential for adults too, the experts said. Even if you have been vaccinated and your symptoms are mild, it’s best to get tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that vaccinated people can still transmit the virus to others.
“It’s a time to be humble about the fact that this is a new variant. We’re still learning,” said 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. “Be cautious and err on the side of caution in terms of going ahead and getting a test.”