Coronavirus: 1 in 19 now have the virus say ONS and a sore throat is the ‘initiating’ symp


The past two years have seen a trend develop as to when COVID-19 spreads. While the virus has peaked during the winter months, it has tended to dissipate in the spring and summer. This has led many to see Covid as a seasonal illness, akin to cold or flu, and therefore manageable. With the fifth wave of Covid hitting the UK in the middle of a heatwave, this is a trend and viewpoint which has been well and truly broken.

One of the main driving factors are two new sub-variants of the dominant variant Omicron.

Known as BA.4 and BA.5, these have driven case numbers skyrocketing across not just the UK, but Europe as well.

Other key factors include the lack of restrictions.

In the UK at least, there are no Covid restrictions and no legal requirement to self-isolate if one tests positive for the virus, although the NHS does recommend this if someone tests positive.


At the beginning of the pandemic, the virus caused symptoms which separated it from other viruses such as a continuous cough and, most notably, a loss or change to the senses of taste and smell.

Fast forward two years and the virus now presents with symptoms closer to those found in seasonal illnesses such as cold and flu.

In fact, it now shares one “initiating symptom” with the former condition.

The symptom in question, says vice president of Atrium Health Kate Passaretti, is a sore throat.

According to Passaretti, people with the BA.5 sub-variant now present with sore throats and fevers.

Passaretti said: “Covid tends to present similarly and the presentation may vary from person to person, but the most common stuff we’re seeing are fevers, congestion, [and] sore throat.

“Often the sore throat is the kind of initiating symptom and then the rest kind of come on.”

However, since a sore throat is a common symptom of multiple conditions, many people are continuing with their daily lives and not testing because they think it could be something other than Covid; a problem exacerbated by the absence of free testing which has removed the incentive to find out one’s Covid status.



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