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BA.5 Symptoms Scaring Doctors Most

Concerning early COVID symptoms are making a comeback.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

BA.5 is causing infections (and reinfections) to surge across the US and the world, and virus experts are warning people to stay on top of their vaccinations and boosters. "With cases and hospitalizations rising again as we enter the summer period, I urge everybody to get vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose," says Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. Here are five BA.5 symptoms doctors are worried about. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Loss of Taste

girl with a spoon near a mouth

Doctors are reporting a resurgence in people losing their taste thanks to BA.5. "What I am seeing in my corner of the world is a spike," says Valentina Parma, a psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. "There seems to be more requests than earlier this year but still significantly less than with Delta."


Loss of Smell

woman trying to sense smell of half fresh orange, has symptoms of Covid-19

Loss of smell is also making a comeback, experts warn. "These patients usually don't come in until several months after they've lost their smell and we don't get a lot of information until after the wave," says Dr. Lauren Roland, a rhinologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.


BA.5 Is Highly Transmissible

Woman outdoor with cold and handkerchief

BA.5 is evading vaccine immunity, virus experts warn. "I think it could be our second worst surge in terms of numbers of cases," says Peter Chin-Hong, MD, professor in the UCSF Health Division of Infectious Diseases. "We have to be careful. The real superpower of BA.5 is reinfections. And because BA.5 is new, if you got infected two or three weeks ago, it's not likely BA.5, so you're susceptible to reinfection."


Severe Sore Throat

Woman suffering from sore throat.

Sore throat has been a common symptom with previous COVID-19 variants, but doctors say BA.5 symptoms can be worse. "Symptoms may be more painful," says Dr. Chin-Hong. "Like their throat is on fire with BA.5. We hear it's the worst sore throat they've had."


Even Being Outside Is Dangerous

Woman with face mask sneezing into elbow while sitting in a cafe.

Virus experts are warning BA.5 is highly transmissible even outside, which was always considered the safer option with previous variants. "The more transmissible the virus is the easier it is to get," says UCSF epidemiologist George Rutherford, MD. "It's always possible and if you're in crowded outdoor areas, it's very possible." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan