- British scientists have long called for a broadening of the official symptoms list.
- Indeed, some scientists suspect it’s precise because access to free testing has been scrapped for most people in England and the government has updated the list.
- Spector would also have liked to see them reordered – fever, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell are still listed in positions one to three.
Scientists believe the government only updated the list after most free testing in England was eliminated as reported by The Guardian.
Updated symptoms list
Ministers are finally acknowledging what has been patently obvious since the beginning of the pandemic: Covid is associated with far more than the oft-cited symptoms of high temperature, persistent cough and loss of sense of smell and taste.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognised many of these symptoms since April 2020, as have numerous other governments.
So why has the UK taken so long – and will anyone take any notice?
British scientists have long called for a broadening of the official symptoms list.
Indeed, some scientists suspect it’s precise because access to free testing has been scrapped for most people in England and the government has updated the list.
Public mood shifts
Although the addition of more symptoms “is definitely a step in the right direction and it could help reduce infections as we go forward”, Spector would also have liked to see them reordered – fever, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell are still listed in positions one to three – yet they are much less common in the Omicron variant era.
“According to the Zoe Covid study, the top five symptoms being reported by contributors with a positive Covid test are; runny nose (83%), fatigue (71%), sore throat (69%), headache (69%) and sneezing (68%),” Spector said.
Others question how helpful it is to expand the symptoms list, now that the majority of people cannot access tests without paying for them.
Presumably, the change is designed to encourage people to behave responsibly and limit contact with other people if they develop any of these symptoms.
But you only have to walk down your local high street to see that the public mood has shifted.
Infections don’t matter?
On the other hand, what are people supposed to do?
Asking everyone with any of the listed symptoms to isolate as if they have Covid would be overkill, and only increase the number of teachers, healthcare staff and other essential workers who are off sick – and many essential and non-essential workers can’t afford to take time off work “just in case”.
Neither are many prepared to waste concert or theatre tickets, miss out on parties or forgo weekend shopping trips, in case their runny nose is Covid.
Reicher said: “Yet again, this is ‘rearranging the deckchairs’ stuff from a government which refuses to do the obvious thing and restore free testing, as well as restoring or extending support for self-isolation, so people can do the right thing if they are Covid positive.”
“The government has sent out so many messages that ‘it’s all over and so ‘infections don’t really matter’ that it is difficult for anyone to think it matters.”
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Source: The Guardian