Covid patients are becoming harder to distinguish from those suffering from allergies or the common cold, doctors say.
The most common symptoms of the virus are now sore throat, sneezing or congestion — the same as RSV, asthma or a pollen allergy.
For comparison, in the early stages of the pandemic, Covid had very distinct symptoms – such as a dry cough and a loss of sense of smell or taste.
Dr Erick Eiting, vice chair of operations for emergency medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City, which was hammered hard during the pandemic, said virtually every Covid patient in hospital at the moment was ‘really mild’.
Patients with the virus are now most likely to suffer from a sore throat, sneezing or congestion, doctors on the frontlines say
Covid hospitalizations are rising, but there is little information available on how severe the disease is that these individuals are suffering
Covid deaths have also ticked up slightly, although they are coming up from record lows
Dr Eiting told NBC News: ‘Just about [every Covid patient] who I’ve seen has had really mild symptoms.
‘The only way that we knew it was Covid was because we happened to be testing them.’
He added: ‘It isn’t [causing] the same typical symptoms that we were seeing before. It’s a lot of congestion, sometimes sneezing, usually a mild sore throat.’
Covid can also cause fever, headaches, fatigue and coughs — but they are becoming less common.
Dr Michael Daignault, an emergency physician in California, added: ‘Especially since July, when this recent mini-surge started, younger people that have upper respiratory symptoms… 99 percent of the time they go home with supportive care.’
By upper respiratory symptoms, he was referring to coughs, runny noses, sore throats, fever and chills.
Doctors say that Covid has become much milder now because now almost every American has immunity against it from vaccination or previous infection.
New variants have also emerged, which appear to have made the virus more infectious but less deadly.
Official data shows Covid hospitalizations are ticking up nationwide, having risen nearly nine percent in the latest week to September 2. A total of 18,800 people are now being admitted with Covid every week — equivalent to 2,700 a day.
But they are rising from record lows and deaths remain low.
There were 860 Covid deaths across America in the latest week to August 26, up around 4.5 percent in a week.
There is no sign of a flu uptick yet, although the CDC warns of a rise later in the year
There are warning signs that RSV infections are now starting to rise
Indicators suggest that RSV infections are also starting to rise, although there is no sign of an uptick in flu cases yet.
It comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned a tripledemic of Covid, flu and RSV could strike the US this winter.
In a statement, they said flu activity — although currently low — was ‘likely to increase over the fall and winter’.
And for the first time, people can get vaccinated against all three viruses, which public health officials are urging people to do to avoid another tripledemic like last year’s when hospitals were inundated.
Doctors hope enough people get vaccinated to help avert another ‘tripledemic’ like last year when hospitals were overwhelmed with an early flu season, an onslaught of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, and yet another winter coronavirus surge.