New symptoms of Covid are emerging as the number of infected people continues to surge. However, doctors said despite the new symptoms, there are some positive features like less criticality of patients seen in ICUs and shorter duration of symptoms compared to the second wave.
The Telegraph spoke to doctors treating Covid patients in clinics, general wards and intensive care units to find out the new symptoms, which they feel are caused by the new variant of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.
Fever with chill and rigor: Fever with chill and rigor is now a common symptom in the initial stage of Covid, said doctors.
“There is a sudden onset of high grade fever with chill and rigor. Earlier, this was a typical symptom of influenza. So, in the initial stage of the new wave, it was suspected to be malaria or dengue also,” said Chandramouli Bhattacharya, infectious diseases expert.
Doctors said the fever is lasting for a shorter duration.
“In many cases, we are observing that the high grade fever is lasting for one to three days. During the second wave, many patients had prolonged fever, for 10 to 12 days,” he said.
Severe pain from waist down: Another symptom of Covid that was earlier not observed much is a severe pain from the waist, moving towards the lower portion of the body.
A resident of North 24-Parganas, who is above 70 years, had crippling pain and was unable to get up. “We were scared and got him admitted to the hospital and it was diagnosed he had Covid,” said his son-in-law. “The pain was gone after a day and we got him discharged.”
Doctors said they had many Covid patients with similar symptoms.
Runny nose and throat irritation: Critical care expert Sauren Panja said another set of new symptoms was running nose, nose blockage and throat irritation.
“In the first two waves, it was mostly fever, throat ache, headache and severe weakness. After that, more severe symptoms like severe cough and shortness of breath would follow in many cases,” said Panja. But this time, it is mostly flu-like symptoms for a few days. Diarrhoea is practically absent this time, Panja said.
“Also, there seems to be no involvement of the nervous system this time because in most patients we are finding that the sense of taste and smell are not going away.”
Critical care patients: Saurabh Maji, pulmonologist and critical care expert, said about 60 per cent of the patients treated under him in the ICU were admitted with other critical ailments like cardiac arrests, stroke or renal failure.
“Covid is an incidental finding in these cases. During routine tests before admission it is revealed that these patients are infected with Covid,” Maji said.
“In the first two waves, almost all Covid patients would turn critical because of the infection that led to involvement of lungs and later, other organs would be affected. Now, mostly those who are unvaccinated are becoming critical because of Covid. The stay in ICU is also shorter in most cases.”
Altered sodium and blood sugar levels are common for Covid patients this time, Panja said.