New Covid Symptoms 2023: What to Know About the Latest Variants

New Covid Symptoms 2023

NEW COvid-19 VARIANTS ARE DISTRIBUTING AS THE YEAR COMES TO AN END. So, you may be wondering if we’ll see the same rise of cases this fall that we’ve seen in previous years.

While medical experts are unsure what the future holds for Covid, they warn you should be aware of the new variations, their symptoms, and how to protect yourself.

“There will always be new strains emerging,” says Henry Redel, M.D., chief of infectious disease at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. “So far, none of them are more virulent or lethal than what we initially experienced in the first one or two years of the pandemic.”

According to Dr. Redel, the variant EG.5, commonly known as Eris, is currently responsible for around 20% of Covid infections in the United States. According to Yale Medicine, it is derived from the highly contagious Omicron variety and does not appear to cause serious disease, but early findings indicate that it may be more transmissible than other variants.

Another new strain, BA.2.86, has been found in the United States and internationally, but the numbers are still low, according to Dr. Redel. As a result, health officials are keeping an eye on the variant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BA.2.86 is more likely to infect patients who have previously taken Covid or who have gotten Covid vaccinations.

“As we head into the fall and winter, we expect to see more variants emerge as they have in the past,” says Vincent Covelli, M.D., a board-certified infectious disease physician with PlushCare.

For the time being, it’s critical to understand the symptoms of existing Covid strains, such as EG.5 and BA.2.86, and how to avoid becoming ill.

What Symptoms Should You Be Aware Of?

According to Brian Labus, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Public Health, the present variants are offspring of Omicron and cause identical symptoms and severity. “The variants that are circulating right now cause the same disease that we’ve been seeing for a while.”

While there are no specific symptoms associated with the new Covid variants, Dr. Covelli claims that Covid symptoms have begun to mirror flu-like symptoms such as sore throat, muscle pains, chills, and a dry cough. Fewer patients appear to have low oxygen levels and shortness of breath.

“That’s partly due to immunity that has developed as a result of vaccinations and virus exposure,” he explains.

The following are the CDC’s updated Covid-19 symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste and smell

How to Prevent Getting Sick

Even if the symptoms of the current strains are similar and not necessarily more severe than previous strains, Dr. Redel believes the new Covid variations are slightly more transmissible than others. As a result, it’s critical to take precautions, such as keeping at home and away from others when you’re unwell.

Also, if you haven’t already, get your Covid-19 vaccines—and keep getting boosters. “It remains an important protection against severe symptoms,” adds Dr. Covelli.

New boosters, which will help guard against the new Covid strains, are likely to be ready in mid to late September. The new injections are aimed at the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant, which is no longer the dominant strain. However, experts believe they should still provide protection against the new varieties.

If You Have Symptoms, Should You Get Tested?

If you experience symptoms, you should get tested for Covid using an at-home test or a local testing site. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains an online testing finder that will assist you find free tests in your area.

If you test positive for Covid, the CDC advises you to isolate yourself for five days. Isolate yourself if you have Covid symptoms but haven’t been tested yet.

Keep in mind that Covid will most certainly continue to evolve, with additional variations arriving this fall, winter, and beyond, according to Labus. It is probable that subsequent versions will introduce new symptoms.

“Viruses must evolve to keep up with our immune systems, and we will continue to see new variants emerge as long as the virus spreads,” he says.