These are currently the most common symptoms of COVID: study

These are currently the most common symptoms of COVID: study

The story at a glance


  • Viruses evolve over time.

  • The latest symptoms of COVID-19 are linked to the new dominant subvariants – BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 – which now account for the majority of cases reported in the US

  • Sore throat is the most frequently reported symptom, followed by runny nose and stuffy nose.

(NEXSTAR) – As with any virus, the symptoms of COVID have changed, and a new study shows they’ve changed a bit again.

Virus symptoms can change for many reasons, such as vaccines and new variants. For example, when the omicron BA.5 subvariant became the dominant strain in the US, cases of COVID began more frequent reporting of extreme fatigue and less loss of taste or smell.

New symptoms are associated with new dominant subvariants – BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 now account for the majority of cases reported in the US, according to CDC.

The Health study ZOE — a collaborative effort by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, King’s College London, Stanford University School of Medicine, and ZOE Health App — shared updated list the most important symptoms of COVID that its participants reported last week.

Reviewing data from the study’s COVID-positive participants for the 30 days before Dec. 5, the researchers found that sore throat was the most commonly reported symptom, followed by runny nose and stuffy nose.

Here are the top 10 most commonly reported symptoms of COVID recorded in the ZOE Healthy Study since the beginning of November:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Nose leak
  3. Blocked nose
  4. Sneezing
  5. Cough without mucus
  6. Headache
  7. Cough with mucus
  8. A hoarse voice
  9. Muscle aches and pains
  10. Changed sense of smell

With the exception of sneezing and a hoarse voice, all of these symptoms have been associated with COVID since the beginning of the pandemic, CDC data shows. Notably missing from this list compared to the current one CDC guidelines are symptoms of diarrhea and nausea or vomiting related to the digestive system and some “traditional” symptoms: loss of smell, difficulty breathing and fever.

According to ZOE, traditional symptoms are less frequently reported among recent COVID-19 patients. In an October report, ZOE stated fever as a frequently reported symptom for unvaccinated COVID patients. A recent analysis of symptoms by vaccination status was not immediately available.

These symptoms of COVID are also similar to those from influenza and RSV. All three respiratory viruses – currently prevalent in the US, causing a “triple epidemic” – have overlapping symptoms, with some variation. Card from National Children’s Hospital recently compared the symptoms related to COVID, influenza and RSV at a glance.

The severity of symptoms can vary from person to person, and treatment methods depend on the virus. While examining your symptoms is a good place to start, doctors recommend testing to help you take the next steps.

Alix Martichoux contributed to this report.

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