People with Covid DON’T have key fever or cough symptoms in first three days, SAGE docs reveal

DOCTORS have revealed that people with Covid-19 don’t have a fever or a cough in the first three days of the illness.

The government’s SAGE doctors revealed that many people experienced a loss of smell on the first day of being sick.

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Analysis by King’s College London and coronavirus symptom app ZOE showed that fatigue and shortness of breath are present later on in the virus.

So far more than 40,000 people have died in the UK with the coronavirus and the government advice had focused on telling people to self isolate if they had symptoms such as a new persistent cough and a fever.

This was later updated to include anosmia, a loss of taste and smell.

The new research looked at data from people who were healthy and then got sick with the virus.

It stated that identifying people who were potentially infected with the virus from a population of sick people calling NHS 111 “is problematic”.

The researchers said a new model is needed to effectively track and trace symptoms and said they would be “happy to build” such a model.

They said: “It would likely use anosmia amongst other signals, and be optimised for symptoms across the first few days to maximise sensitivity.”

The app collected data from 2.5 million users across the UK.

From this 116,568 users became sick throughout the study and 727 users tested positive for Covid-19.

Data from the first day showed that as many people logged a fever as did those who felt they had lost their sense of smell.

The researchers stated: “This data shows that fever or cough are not present in the first few days for most people with COVID.

“The distributions of symptoms for users who tested positive are quite different from the overall population.


“If we want to identify people for early testing, when viral shedding high, we should build a new model optimised for data in just the first few days”.

The research comes after scientists revealed that mass screening for loss of taste and smell will “save lives” and “reduce infection rates” by detecting hidden coronavirus cases.

Introducing screening for loss of taste and smell, they say, will help trace 16 per cent of cases that may otherwise be missed.

The symptom was only added to the Government's official list of Covid signs on May 18 – almost two months after lockdown.

The scientists also suggested that policymakers should consider the findings and the implications for mass screening.

They added that this could be part of public health measures in schools, airports, hospitals and care homes.

The team had also found last month that young women were more likely to suffer from anosmia as a coronavirus symptom.

They found that women in their 30s and 40 were reporting losing their sense of smell and taste more frequently than others.


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