Mystery China virus gripping world IS another form of Covid-19, says top doc

A top doctor has confirmed to the Daily Star that the mystery Chinese pneumonia virus is another Covid virus.

The strange unidentified virus has been causing chaos in China for weeks, with the world on high alert over fears a new pandemic could be on the way.

Although it so far only seems to impact mainly children, it saw officials in neighbouring countries such as India, who are wary of another virus spreading through their population following the outbreak of the coronavirus in 2019, readying themselves for action.

READ MORE: Mystery Covid-like China virus now in Europe and already 'resistant to treatments'

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It has already reached Europe – with Denmark and Holland confirming an influx of cases – with the World Health Organisation on high alert and said to be monitoring the situation.

And speaking exclusively to the Daily Star, Dr Gareth Nye, the Programme Lead for Medical Science and Chester Medical School, said: “It seems to be true that China is seeing a surge in respiratory diseases particularly in children but crucially, this is not a new disease like COVID 19 was.

"This is simply an increase in diseases we already know about, namely another COVID virus SARS-CoV2, influenza, the bacteria that causes pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus.

“Firstly, I would like to stress that as with COVID, these opinions may be subject to change as more information comes to light. As it currently stands, we have no need for major panic regarding this new surge in disease.

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‌”Now as we are seeing a combination of viruses and bacteria, this is more likely due to how our bodies are handling illness now following years of COVID restrictions.

"We have already seen the impact with a rise in Strep A infections in children last winter and there has been similar rises in similar infections in the US following the removal of social distancing, so in essence, this rise was expected and not caused by new diseases which simply put, means we shouldn’t see a COVID 2.0.”

However, he went on to state that the rise in bacterial disease pneumonia in children which is being “tracked closely” by the WHO can be explained by a very simple reason.

He said: “The missing out of crucial 'infection spreading' of the normal winter bugs during the COVID restricted years, particularly in children who had social interactions through school disrupted, explains this as your ability to fight infections comes from seeing diseases before.

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“Some children are simply meeting these illness for the first time and struggling to overcome them without assistance.”

Dr Nye gave his four top tips for helping to combat – or avoid – the illness.

  • If you have an active illness avoid coming into contact with other people if possible or use good hygiene and masks

  • Keep up to date with available vaccinations, particularly for children

  • Utilise over-the-counter therapies for the first five days of an illness before contacting GPs. Pharmacists are also great resources as is 111

  • Get a good quality ear thermometer to check for high temperatures

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