UK Covid variant: Loss of smell less likely but sore throats more prevalent, new data shows

  • ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke explains how the symptoms may vary in the new Covid-19 variant

Loss of the sense of taste and smell are less likely to be symptoms of the new Covid-19 variant, the latest data shows.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show the new Kent variant has slightly different symptoms to the original strain of Covid-19.

The data covers tests taken between November 15 2020 and January 16 and revealed people who had the new variant were more likely to report any symptoms compared to the original strain.

Over half of people who have the new strain report feeling symptoms compared to just under half for people who have the original strain.

Combined 50.7% of people who had Covid-19 reported having symptoms.

While many of the symptoms people suffer are similar regardless of the strain they have, some are more likely depending on which version they have been infected with.

The most likely symptoms remain a cough, fatigue weakness, and a headache, all of which are more prevalent in the new strain of Covid-19.

Credit: Office for National Statistics

Loss of the sense of taste and smell were the only symptoms that were significantly more likely with the original variant of Covid-19.

Sore throats and muscle pain were significantly more likely to be reported by people infected with the new variant.

There was no evidence of difference in the percentage of people reporting gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

The data only compares the original strain and the variant that originated in Kent last year, not any of the other versions of Covid-19.

The data from the Infection Survey found a there was a decline in the number of people in non-patient facing roles testing positive for coronavirus.

The number of cases has been declining in recent days as the new lockdown began to have an impact.

Daily confirmed case numbers have fallen to near 20,000 from a peak of 68,000.

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