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As the eighth wave of Covid continues to grow and temperatures drop, testing is the only way to know if you are infected or have a simple cold (photo illustration taken in Guiyang, China, on September 7).
CORONAVIRUS – “ Since I haven’t lost my taste, I think it’s just a cold… “Two and a half years after the start of the pandemic, and even if the World Health Organization assures that the “ end of the epidemic is in sight, the specter of Covid-19 is never far away on a daily basis. Except that within a very widely vaccinated population, a real weariness has set in.
Therefore, screening is no longer really a reflex for some French people, especially in the context of Omicron and its sub-variants, which are far from causing the same influx in intensive care units as the first iterations of the Covid. And yet, with fall, increasing time spent indoors, and the onset of seasonal colds, the risk of being infected with Sars-CoV-2 continues to increase. Public Health France announced Tuesday, September 27 thus identified 73,639 cases the day before, increasing the average over seven days to 37,822 cases per day.
Except that between a simple cold, a seasonal flu and the Covid, many are wondering these days what they could have caught when they start coughing, having a fever or a runny nose. Without rushing into the laboratories like last year.
Between Omicron and a cold, symptoms are often similar
A finding that is increasingly true as the population gets vaccinated, receives booster doses and gets used to the presence of the virus. Thus, as recently written by the New York Timesciting University of California virologist Peter Chin-Hong, with BA.5, the most circulating subvariant of Omicron this fall, people with Sars-CoV-2 suffer less severe symptoms than at the time of the first waves.
As with the flu or a cold, sufferers now often experience generalized fatigue, difficulty breathing, cough and fever. But much less than before a loss of taste or smell, symptoms which, in 2020 and 2021, quite clearly indicated a Sars-CoV-2 infection.
Result: the only way to be fixed is to be tested, the RT-PCR remaining the most convincing.
Isolation, positive test and sick leave
As a reminder, in the event of symptoms evoking the Covid, the French health authorities indeed invite people to carry out a screening test and to isolate themselves, while reinforcing barrier gestures (wearing a mask, teleworking as far as possible, limitation of social interactions…).
And if you have only had recourse to a self-test which has turned out to be positive, the Ministry of Health advises to remain isolated while confirming it in the pharmacy (via an antigenic test) or in the laboratory (PCR). The latter being the most effective for detecting Covid, since it is more sensitive, the genetic material being amplified in the laboratory.
Once the person with symptoms tests positive, they are supposed to stay in isolation for seven days, or ten if they are not vaccinated. Then, a negative test after five days makes it possible to break the isolation early (or seven for people without a complete vaccination schedule). Incidentally, it should be noted that in the event of excessive symptoms or inability to telework, a positive test makes it possible to obtain a work stoppage online, thanks to a dedicated service set up by health insurance.
Has the Covid become a common cold?
But in the context of symptoms that are normalizing, can we therefore consider that Sars-CoV-2 has become an ordinary virus, a common cold? The question arises because at present, the world is getting used to the presence of Covid, to the point that Joe Biden, for example, speaks of an epidemic ” completed ” in the USA.
On the one hand, and as explained in the columns of HuffPost virologist Bruno Lina, “ whenever you can avoid an infection, even if it’s mild, it’s better. There is never a short-term advantage to being infected by a pathogen. »
In addition, doctor Christian Lehmann adds at Release that the Covid has killed since the beginning of 2022 much more than the seasonal flu, and that it causes serious long-term forms which are still poorly understood. “Hearing disorders, attention disorders, intense fatigability, respiratory discomfort, malaise, speech and concentration difficulties…”, the general practitioner cites the lasting consequences of a Covid infection which certainly occur rarely, but which deserve that Sars-CoV-2 is still treated differently from a common cold. And therefore to be tested.
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