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Discussion thread VII - COVID-19: Endemic Stage

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    Sore throat, then congestion: Common Covid symptoms follow a pattern now, doctors say
    Sept. 16, 2023, 6:00 AM CST
    By Aria Bendix

    Doctors say they're finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish Covid from allergies or the common cold, even as hospitalizations tick up.

    The illness' past hallmarks, such as a dry cough or the loss of sense of taste or smell, have become less common. Instead, doctors are observing milder disease, mostly concentrated in the upper respiratory tract.

    "It isn’t the same typical symptoms that we were seeing before. It’s a lot of congestion, sometimes sneezing, usually a mild sore throat," said Dr. Erick Eiting, vice chair of operations for emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York City.

    The sore throat usually arrives first, he said, then congestion.
    "Just about everyone who I've seen has had really mild symptoms," Eiting said of his urgent care patients, adding, "The only way that we knew that it was Covid was because we happened to be testing them."
    For the most part, the doctors said, few patients require hospitalization — even those who show up at emergency rooms — and many recover without needing the antiviral pill Paxlovid or other treatment.
    Daignault said emergency rooms generally aren’t seeing the shortness of breath, low oxygen rates or viral pneumonia that led some patients to be put on oxygen tubes or ventilators in the past.

    Instead, he said, the typical Covid patients hospitalized in Burbank are older and suffering dehydration, loss of appetite, weakness or fatigue.
    Doctors who treat Covid describe the ways the illness has gotten milder and shifted over time to mostly affect the upper respiratory tract.

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