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COVID is Rising Again and Here are Signs You Caught It 

Here's the latest on what symptoms may mean you've contracted COVID.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Two weeks ago, late-night host Stephen Colbert tested positive for COVID-19. On Monday, he returned the show after a brief absence, and said that although he was grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted, the experience was "not fun"—he experienced some uncomfortable symptoms, and he urged everyone to stay up-to-date on their recommended vaccinations. Experts say Colbert's experience is common: Although the COVID vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from the virus, it is possible to experience symptomatic illness. As the BA.2 subvariant spreads nationwide, here's the latest on what symptoms may mean you've contracted COVID. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

BA.2 Symptoms Similar to Previous Waves

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get
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Experts say BA.2 symptoms don't seem to be that different from Omicron or Delta. "This is the same virus, SARS coronavirus 2, so we're seeing the same symptoms," Dr. Michael Angarone, an associate professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Northwestern University, told NBC Chicago. 

According to the most recent data gathered by the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, the five most common symptoms of Omicron and BA.2 infection are the same as those associated with the Delta variant: Runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and sore throat. 

According to anecdotal reports, some people are experiencing more dizziness and fatigue  with BA.2 than with previous variants. 

2

One Symptom Less Likely

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19
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The ZOE COVID researchers say that one symptom is much less likely now than earlier in the pandemic: Loss of smell. In research published in The Lancet last month, the scientists found that 52.7% of people infected with Delta lost their sense of smell, while only 16.7% of those with Omicron did.

3

Other Common COVID Symptoms

Woman being sick having flu lying on sofa looking at temperature on thermometer. Sick woman lying in bed with high fever.
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The CDC says these are the most common symptoms of COVID-19 overall:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
4

More Contagious, Not More Severe: "You Just Can't Get Nervous"

Woman having throat ache
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The good news: While BA.2 is more contagious than previous variants, it doesn't seem to cause more severe effects or complications. Although case numbers have increased, hospitalizations and deaths haven't skyrocketed like they did at earlier points in the pandemic. "At some point, you just can't get nervous every time there's a new variant, because there's always going to be a new variant," David Montefiori, a professor at Duke University Medical Center, told NBC Chicago this week. "We've been through multiple waves of variants that really mattered a lot, but we might be coming out of that because there's so much immunity built up in the population."

5

How to Stay Safe Out There

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Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael