As SARS-CoV-2 evolves, the symptoms it causes in humans have changed too. Loss of smell, for instance, was once one of the telltale indicators of COVID-19, but is now only the 9th most commonly reported symptom in those who have an infection (and are unvaccinated).
There are differences too in how people who have yet to receive one or two doses of vaccines experience the disease, according to research by the ZOE COVID-19 symptom study in the UK. Though there are similarities in the symptoms between those who have had doses of vaccines and those who haven't, there are significant differences in there, which may help you determine if you need to get tested.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 IN PEOPLE WHO are unvaccinated
According to the study, in people who have no doses of the vaccine the most common symptoms are currently are:
2) Sore Throat
3) Runny Nose
5) Persistent cough
As well as anosmia slipping out of the charts, shortness of breath was the 30th most reported symptom, strikingly different from the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The symptoms for those who have had one dose of the vaccine were similar to those who are unvaccinated.
Symptoms of COVID-19 in people who have had one dose of vaccine
2) Runny Nose
3) Sore Throat
5) Persistent cough
"One of the original indicators of a persistent cough has made the top 5 symptoms, but still comes below sneezing and a runny nose in rankings," the study authors write. "Which were previously thought to be unrelated to infection."
In those who had two vaccine doses, the differences were even more clear, with persistent coughing not making the top five symptoms of the disease.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19 IN PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD two DOSEs OF VACCINE
2) Runny nose
4) Sore throat
5) Loss of smell
For those who caught COVID-19 after receiving both doses of their vaccine, symptoms were reported to last a shorter period of time, which suggested that they were falling less seriously ill with the virus.
As well as changes to the virus itself explaining changes in symptoms among the unvaccinated, part of the change may be to do with the demographics of those who are becoming infected.
"There are a few reasons why symptoms may be changing," the team write. "Including the fact that those who have been vaccinated experience less severe symptoms, as well as more cases being reported by younger people, who we have found experience different, less severe symptoms as well."
Though the symptoms have changed slightly in those who are vaccinated, the advice remains the same.
"If you’ve been vaccinated and start sneezing a lot without an explanation, you should get a COVID test, especially if you are living or working around people who are at greater risk from the disease."