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Brits suffering with “worst lurgy ever” could be positive for coronavirus and not have realised yet.
Many people across the nation have been suffering with cold like symptoms for the past couple of weeks, including a runny nose, sore throat, headaches, coughs and loss of smell.
Evidence suggests the “worst cold ever” has spread possibly due to a dip in immunity after 18 months of social distancing and mask wearing.
One woman suffering with the cold told the Daily Mirror: "Usually, whenever I've had a cold, I'm able to plod on through but this has completely drained me and knocked me around. I've still got it and it's been just over a week.
"I'm hoping it won't last too much longer as it's that bad, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy."
It may be that those currently in the grips of the familiar symptoms are not actually suffering from a cold, but Covid-19.
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.
He told the Mirror: "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.
"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.
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"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 were the signs Brits were first told to look out for last Spring with regards to Covid, but 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.
Despite the 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% to 65% 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.
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.
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