Are Delta Symptoms Different? – The New York Times
Two years ago a sneeze or cough wouldn’t have been a cause for concern, but now even the slightest of symptoms can make us wonder, “Do I have the Covid?” “
At the start of the pandemic, we discovered the characteristic signs of the infection, which can include loss of taste and smell, fever, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. But what about now, over a year later? Have the symptoms changed given that the Delta variant is currently the most common form of the virus in the United States?
There is little data on this question and much remains to be unraveled.
Unvaccinated patients make up the vast majority of people hospitalized with Covid-19, so they may be more likely to develop serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or persistent pain or pressure in the chest. In areas with lower vaccination rates, such as Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, unvaccinated children and young adults are being sent to hospital in greater numbers than they were to d other moments of the pandemic. Researchers are not yet sure whether Delta alone is responsible for these serious symptoms or whether it is the upsurge in childhood infections that may lead to more hospitalizations.
The Delta variant is almost twice as contagious as the previous variants and just as contagious as chickenpox. It replicates quickly in the body, and people carry large amounts of the virus through their nose and throat.
Dr Andrew T. Chan, epidemiologist and physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and one of the principal investigators of the Covid Symptom study, has followed millions of people in Britain, the United States and Sweden through an app that asks participants to watch their symptoms. A preprint using data from the study, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, suggests that those who are vaccinated are well protected against Delta. Breakthrough infections, although rare, tend to produce symptoms that are milder and of shorter duration.
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,” said Dr Chan. “We are still seeing people with a cough, but we are also seeing a higher prevalence of things like a runny nose and sneezing.” Headaches and sore throats are other main complaints, he added. Fever and loss of taste and smell are reported to a lesser extent.
Dr Chan said researchers began to see reported milder symptoms by the time the Delta variant became prevalent in Britain, starting in late spring, which also coincided with the vaccination schedule of mass of the country.
Pediatricians in New York City, where 67% of adults are fully vaccinated, say they are seeing many of the same symptoms in children they have seen since the start of the pandemic, and that the most severe cases have tend to be in unvaccinated adolescents, especially those with underlying illnesses like diabetes or obesity. Some toddlers or school-aged children can also get very sick from Covid, but doctors aren’t always sure why one child gets so much sicker than another, said Dr Sallie Permar, chief pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. .
Fever, cough, fatigue, headaches and sore throats are the “classic presentation of Covid” in symptomatic children, she added.
If your child has potential symptoms of Covid, including gastrointestinal issues, arrange for you and your child to be tested for Covid, then stay home until the results are negative, said the Dr. Adam Ratner, director of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital in NYU Langone.
“It’s part of how we keep schools safe,” he added.
Testing is also essential for adults, the experts said. Even if you have been vaccinated and your symptoms are mild, it is best to get tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that people who are vaccinated can still pass the virus on to others.
“Now is the time to be humble that this is a new variation. We’re still learning, ”said Dr. Mark Mulligan, director of the NYU Langone Vaccine Center and chief of infectious diseases at NYU Langone Health. “Be careful and err on the side of caution in terms of going ahead and taking a test.”
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