Back in September, as Londoners emerged from their lockdown nests, piled back on to the Underground, the Overground and buses, a silent bug that we’d all forgotten about reared its ugly face. The common cold had lived in the shadow of a much bigger ‘C’ virus for the past two years, but as masks were pushed out of the ‘phone, wallet, keys’ trio, the cold began to make an unwelcome return. Now we all know about ‘the worst cold ever’.
If you haven’t had it, you’ll have at least read a Twitter thread about it. It’s like a normal cold but amplified about a million times: sore throat, headache and runny nose. Many people are claiming that this is the worst cold they’ve ever had. Now there are reports that the cold – which kicked off down south – is spreading north, leaving a load of snotty people in its wake. But why is it so bad and how can you tell if you have Covid or the WCE (worst cold ever)?
London GP Dr Philippa Kaye says the cold is hitting so hard because of all the time we spent social distancing during the pandemic. ‘During those first lockdowns, we saw numbers of other [non-Covid] infections fall,’ says Dr Kaye. ‘We think that that was primarily due to the restrictions on meeting up. We've actually been seeing a rise in the number of coughs and colds and viral infections.’
She says there’s no way to tell the difference between the cold or Covid without getting a proper PCR test. Even if it isn’t Covid, it might be best to work from home. No one wants your virus, sunshine.