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Clinical teams are facing some difficulty in distinguishing between COVID-19, allergies, and the common cold this season because some traditional COVID-19 symptoms—such as dry cough and loss of taste or smell—have now become less common. The Zoe COVID Symptom Study in the UK supports this trend, with physicians observing milder disease, mostly concentrated in the upper respiratory tract. Sore throat was often identified as the first noticeable symptom, as reported in an NBC News article. This shift in symptoms may be attributed to increased immunity from vaccines and previous infections, as well as the changing nature of the omicron variant.

Here’s the trend: Patients are likely to have milder symptoms, and therefore, might need to be tested for COVID-19 even if they seem to present otherwise. A researcher from Case Western Reserve University noted that only 10% to 20% of her COVID-19 patients lose their sense of taste or smell these days, which is a symptom traditionally associated with COVID-19.

Loss of Taste or Smell a Less Likely COVID-19 Symptom