Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Could it be covid?

Could it be covid? Update information to stop public confusion

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 03 December 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:n2989
  1. Kathleen E Wenaden, GP
  1. London, UK
  1. K.Wenaden{at}

As a GP, I completely agree with Salisbury’s article.1 We are currently seeing many patients with symptoms of a cold, sore throat, and fever—most of these patients are surprised to be asked to do a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for covid. Some refuse, stating it is not necessary. There is also much confusion in the public regarding when to do a lateral flow test and when to do a PCR test.

I also agree that the current definition of covid symptoms is outdated and needs to be revised. If we rely on an outdated list of the main symptoms, it means that our current rates of covid are an underestimate of new infections in the community, which is concerning.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.


View Abstract