Scientists believe huge number of cases not recognised because official guidance was not updated
The UK government has finally updated its official list of coronavirus symptoms to include a loss of the sense of smell, known by the medical term ‘anosmia’.
This loss of smell has been recognised as one of the frequent symptoms of the coronavirus, often present even in those who are otherwise asymptomatic. But the government has steadfastly failed to add anosmia to its official guidance of symptoms to look out for.
As a result, scientists believe that 100-200,000 cases of infection have been missed, allowing each of those people to come into contact with potentially hundreds of thousands of others, not realising they were infected – exposing millions more people to infection, with inevitable loss of life.
A study in Italy showed that at any given moment 50-75% of those infected did not realise they were infected – but they were still capable of infecting others.
Loss of taste has also now been added to the UK government’s list, having also been medically recognised months ago. The French government officially warned its people in March that these two symptoms were key identifiers of infection by the virus.
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