Skip to content

16 Signs the New COVID Variant May Be in Your Body Now, Say Experts

Know the symptoms.

Despite all the social media posts declaring that "COVID is back," the respiratory virus never went away. It's been out there, circulating and mutating, as viruses do for a living, driving occasional spikes in infection as our immunity from vaccines or natural infection wears off. Experts are now tracking new variants, EG.5 (known as Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola). Both are mutations of the Omicron variant that hit hard in November 2021. Neither have been found to cause more severe illness than their parent virus, but have the symptoms changed at all? These are major signs you may have contracted the new COVID variants, according to what the experts are seeing. 

Sore Throat

Mature aged man suffering from strong throat sore or angina.

"This year, we've seen COVID appear in the form of something as simple as just a sore throat, which can be really hard to differentiate between COVID, flu, or strep, because they can look alike and sound the same," Keisha Brown, a physician assistant with Velocity Urgent Care in Virginia Beach, Virginia, told 13 News on Sept. 7. Your throat may feel scratchy or irritated, or you may have pain upon swallowing.

Fever or Chills


Along with a sore throat, fever or chills are the three most common symptoms of COVID-19 right now, the World Health Organization says

Muscle Aches

Woman suffering from backache at home.

Body aches and pains, or a heaviness in your limbs, is known as myalgia. This is a common symptom of COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It may also indicate the flu. A home COVID test can help pinpoint the cause.

Loss of Taste or Smell

Woman trying to sense smell of fresh tangerine orange

Along with muscle aches and fever or chills, a loss of taste or smell is one of three symptoms you should be especially vigilant about now, Professor Emily E. Volk told the Express on Sept. 12. "The symptoms of COVID-19, RSV and the flu often mimic each other, making it tough to differentiate," she said. "If you're under the weather, don't hesitate—get tested to know what you're dealing with so you can protect yourself and others."



UC Davis Health says there are no "new" symptoms of COVID this year. "The symptoms are the same, even with new COVID variants like Eris (EG.5) and Omicron BA.2.86," which is also known as Pirola, the health officials say. These include a classic COVID symptom: A cough.



But not all experts agree. According to New Scientist, three "new" symptoms are more frequently being reported with the EG.5 (Eris) variant. One of these is diarrhea. 

Eye Irritation


Irritated eyes are also being reported by sufferers of the Eris variant, New Scientist reports.


Spreading rash. Young lady in pain looking awfully sick suffering from a spreading skin rash affecting her neck

You might also be more likely to experience a rash if you're infected by the Eris variant, New Scientist says. 

Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing


Another classic symptom of COVID-19 is still common. "These symptoms may be a sign of COVID infection, but these also could mean you have a different illness," UC Davis Health recommends. "Call your primary care provider if you have questions or think you were in contact with someone who had COVID." 

Runny Nose or Sneezing


According to the latest data from the UK's Office of National Statistics, a runny nose or sneezing was the most commonly reported COVID symptom this summer, as cases began to rise. "Our data shows that when rates of COVID-19 are high, the chances that a runny nose is due to coronavirus infection is high," say the researchers behind the ZOE Covid Study. "But when rates of COVID-19 are low, it's less likely to be a symptom and more likely to be due to another cause such as a cold or allergy.‍"



According to the Office of National Statistics, "weakness or tiredness" was the second-most commonly reported COVID symptom this summer. 

 RELATED: 23 Places You're Most Likely to Catch the New COVID Variant



Although it's been commonly observed since the beginning of the pandemic, a headache was the third-most commonly reported symptom among people who had COVID this summer, the Office of National Statistics reported.

Filed Under