The Most Common Symptom You Should Be Looking For If You Think You Have COVID-19

When we first started hearing about COVID-19 in late 2019, two of the most common (and strange) symptoms were a loss of smell and taste. Those symptoms are among a wide assortment of others that include fever, chills, coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, headache, congestion, a runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, and body aches, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

But as the virus and its variants have evolved, so have the most commonly reported symptoms. Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on COVID-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO), tells Sky News that the virus is becoming "too clever" as it evolves — meaning that it is smart enough to make its way past our immune defenses. So, if symptoms are ever-evolving, what is (now) the most common sign of COVID-19? Data collected from the U.K. shows that it might be one that you least expect.

Two-thirds of people with COVID have this symptom

Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the COVID ZOE app, told The Independent that COVID variants have found ways to get around our immune systems, which causes symptoms to change. Currently, a sore throat sits at the top of the symptoms list.

"Many people are still using the government guidelines about symptoms which are wrong. At the moment, COVID starts in two-thirds of people with a sore throat. Fever and loss of smell are really rare now — so many ... people may not think they've got COVID," Spector said. In fact, Sky News reported that a sore throat was the most common symptom of 17,500 people who tested positive for the virus last week. Headache, stuffy nose, a dry cough, and runny nose rounded out the top five symptoms. And the loss of smell that was so prevalent in the beginning of the pandemic was the last on the list of the top 20 symptoms.