Wellness Wednesday: Current Covid Symptoms and Risk

University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon

Covid-19 is still with us. People are picking up the virus and testing positive. There are people who are unvaccinated who remain at the highest risk of getting the virus. It would appear that some people who are double-jabbed can become infected. However, for the majority of these people the symptoms are at a low level. I know of one person who was classified as extremely clinically vulnerable because of chest problems who has tested positive recently and weathered the virus well. They quickly recovered from the cough and their main symptom has been loss of taste and smell. Furthermore, their spouse, who is also double-jabbed, has been testing daily and has not contracted the virus at all.

There is much information in the media about the current risk of contracting Covid-19, the efficacy of the vaccinations and what symptoms to look for. There is also much mis-information and conflicting reports. A lot of the most accurate information is in the depths of reports from the Office for National Statistics and this appears almost impossible to extract; a lot of the research is still at a stage where it is yet to be reported. It is very confusing.

Since people have been socialising more, all viruses have been more transmissible. There are reports across the media of a very bad cold circulating. It was inevitable really; viruses like colds and other coronaviruses have had little chance to spread between hosts because of the long-standing restrictions on socialising. Now we’re getting back together and they’re making the most of it and spreading from person to person.

So how can you tell if you have Covid-19 or another virus?

The Zoe Covid study is a collaboration between King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals and Zoe Global Limited. It is a well-respected and in-depth study which has been examining data since the beginning of the pandemic in the UK. The information it releases is in plain English and easy to understand. Please look at the links below where there is information on the current spread of the coronavirus and its prevalence in various areas of the UK. There is also a guide to symptoms of colds versus Covid-19, and the head of the study, Tim Spector, has a video where one of the Covid related subjects he tackles is the difference in symptoms.

Reassuringly for us in Kent, the prevalence of Covid-19 in this area is low compared to the national average. If you check on the BBC article, ‘Covid-19 in the UK etc’ you can enter your postcode for more precise information. The incidence of Covid-19 illness in the local community is vital information to assess risk of contagion.

This is a difficult time for all of us. There appear to be so many problems coming at us from so many different sides. This is happening when our resilience has been eroded by the prolonged period of uncertainty, restrictions and pressures of the pandemic period. We need to remember to be kind to ourselves and to others, as difficult as that can sometimes be.


‘Do I have COVID or a cold? How to tell the difference’ Zoe Covid Study

‘Do you have Covid or a cold?’ Zoe on YouTube

‘Is ‘the worst cold ever’ going around?’ by Imran Rahman-Jones and Manish Pandey on BBC Newsbeat

‘Yes, This Is The Worst Cold Ever – And I Would Know’ by Georgia Aspinall on grazia.com via msn

‘Is the ‘worst cold ever’ actually a thing? What doctors say about non-Covid colds spreading after lockdown’ by Alex Finnis on the i via msn

‘Covid-19 in the UK: How many coronavirus cases are there in my area?’ by The Visual and Data Journalism Team on BBC News

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