COVID severity ‘much lower’ now — but these 3 symptoms remain: top NYC doc

Despite the recent warning of a new variant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of COVID-19 are noticeably weaker than previous waves, a top NYC doctor has said.

“Just about everyone who I’ve seen has had really mild symptoms,” Dr. Erick Eiting, who is vice chair of operations for emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Downtown, told NBC News. The outlet also reported that the virus has become so light it is hard to tell apart from allergies or just a common cold.

“The only way that we knew that it was COVID was because we happened to be testing them,” Eiting added, noting that current symptoms mostly include congestion, some sneezing and a mild sore throat.

According to a long-term study of COVID symptoms based in the UK, a sore throat was connected to the illness significantly more often following the Omicron variant of 2021.

A loss in taste and smell now only impacts around 10-20% of COVID patients as opposed to 60-70% during the early pandemic, observed Dr. Grace McComsey of Case Western University.

Still, current patients may endure “a burning sensation like they never had, even with strep in the past,” according to Dr. McComsey. “Then, as soon as the congestion happens, it seems like the throat gets better,” she added.

Both doctors also reported that fewer patients compared to last year are in need of intense hospital care, per NBC, adding that antiviral pill treatment through Paxlovid and similar alternatives is speeding up recoveries.

COVID cases are becoming more mild, medical experts say.
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“Especially since July, when this recent mini-surge started, younger people that have upper respiratory symptoms — cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever and chills — 99% of the time they go home with supportive care,” emergency physician Dr. Michael Daignault, of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, said.

Another virology expert, Dr. Dan Barouch at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said that it’s our immune systems and effectiveness from vaccines that are responsible for COVID’s long-awaited downfall.

“Overall, the severity of COVID is much lower than it was a year ago and two years ago. That’s not because the variants are less robust. It’s because the immune responses are higher,” he said.

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