New UK Covid-19 variant causes more coughing, less impact on taste and smell, government survey reveals
The new highly transmissible Covid-19 variant first detected in the UK is more likely to cause coughing than older strains, but smell and taste seem less affected, new data from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) suggests.
New survey results reported by the ONS on Wednesday reveal that symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, muscle ache and fever were more common among those who caught the new variant. The agency, which has been surveying the effects and spread of coronavirus for months, said that there was no evidence to suggest the new variant made any difference when it came to headaches or shortness of breath.
“Loss of taste and loss of smell were significantly less common in new variant compatible positives than triple positives,” the ONS said. British officials say the variant, which was first discovered in the southeast of England in December, could be linked to a slightly higher mortality rate than previous strains of coronavirus.
Regarding other reported symptoms of Covid infections, the agency said that “there is no evidence of difference in the gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath or headaches.”
The variant’s high rate of transmission, however, has put the UK’s health service under huge strain, and prompted new lockdown measures across Europe to try and contain its spread.
The most commonly reported symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Less common symptoms include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhea, or a skin rash, the World Health Organization says.
The UK has reported nearly 3.7 million cases of coronavirus so far, and on Tuesday its death toll passed 100,000, counting people who died within 28 days of a positive test.
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