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U.K. updates official COVID symptoms list days after England ends free testing

The original three symptoms, fever, cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste, were initially settled on because they present in most COVID-19 cases, or are caused almost exclusively by the virus.

U.K. updates official COVID symptoms list days after England ends free testing
The Canadian Press / Nathan Denette
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The United Kingdom has updated its official list of COVID-19 symptoms, expanding from the original three to a total of nine symptoms.

The original symptoms were fever, cough, and loss of smell or taste.

According to the BBC, the U.K. Health Security Agency updated its guidance to now include symptoms similar to that of the common cold or flu, including muscle pains and a sore throat.

The move to expand the diagnosis of COVID-19 comes more than two years into the pandemic and just days after free testing ended in England. The NHS cautions that many of the new symptoms are “very similar” to the cold and flu.

The World Health Organization and the United States have used the longer list of symptoms for over a year, especially in regard to shortness of breath and muscle pains. However, deciding precisely which symptoms should be recognized and qualify someone for a COVID-19 test has been a matter of debate in the U.K.

The original three symptoms, fever, cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste, were initially settled on because they present in most COVID-19 cases, or are caused almost exclusively by the virus.

The full list of symptoms now reads as follows:

  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • aching body
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • feeling sick or being sick

In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a second booster shot for Americans over the age of 50 in recent days. Unlike the previous booster, however, it is not necessary to be considered fully vaccinated.

The shot can only be from either Pfizer or Moderna.

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