It's a known and understood fact that it's going to be a case of living with COVID, not totally eradicating it. Which means that, while vaccinations will inevitably bring down the number and severity of cases, we'll all need to remain aware of the symptoms of COVID to ensure we limit transmission as much as possible.
In the UK, there are just three key symptoms on the official list - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. But in contrast, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists 11 symptoms, while the World Health Organization lists 13. As a result, scientists are now calling for the UK to expand its list of COVID symptoms with a view to raising awareness that coronavirus can manifest in various different forms.
In an article on the British Medical Journal (BMJ), experts including Professor Calum Semple (who sits on the government’s Sage committee) and Dr Alex Crozier, a biomedical researcher from UCL, urge the government to broaden the list of symptoms associated with self-isolation.
The experts point out that "infections are now highest among young, unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated people," and add that it's this group who are more likely to experience "unofficial" symptoms. These unofficial symptoms - which are usually an indication of mild to moderate COVID-19 cases - include:
"Improvements in transmission control are urgently needed," write the health professionals in their BMJ article. By including such symptoms on an officially recognised risk, it will increase awareness among the population that a cough, fever, and loss of taste or smell aren't the only signs you've caught COVID. In fact, "many infected people do not present with the symptoms used in the UK case definition," note the scientists.
With almost 45 million UK adults having received their first vaccination, and just over 33 million having had both jabs, we're well on our way to developing a wall of immunity against coronavirus. But that doesn't mean transmission will stop completely - so the better we get at recognising it, the more chance we've got at getting our lives back.
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