CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Many COVID-19 symptoms could easily be associated with other illnesses – such as fever, headache or fatigue.

The most unique symptom is a loss of taste or smell.

But that is no longer a key indicator, with omicron becoming the most common coronavirus variant.

In Ohio, it accounts for more than 75% of all COVID-19 cases.

But its symptoms are different than previous variants.

Dr. Andy Thomas, Chief Clinical Officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recently shared the most common symptoms he’s seen in patients who have omicron.

“The average patient, what I’ve been reading and hearing from patients is a little more upper respiratory symptoms, such as stuffy nose, runny nose, maybe sore throat,” he said.

A study released by the U.K. Health Security Agency last week supports what Dr. Thomas is seeing in Ohio.

In cases tracked by the country’s National Health Service, just 13% of people who had omicron lost their sense of smell or taste.

With the delta variant, the U.K. health agency found 34% of delta cases reported the symptom.

“A little bit more upper respiratory symptoms, a little bit less on the reliance of loss of taste, loss of smell as a symptom,” Dr. Thomas shared.

He says that’s also what makes the variant so contagious.

“Reproduction in the mouth and in the nose, this is probably driving some of this increased contagiousness as well, because there’s more virus in that part of the respiratory system, so as you sneeze or cough, it’s just spread a little more easily.”

The most common symptoms were runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing and sore throat, according to a study by British researchers published in December.

According to the CDC, the following are all the possible symptoms associated with COVID-19.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.