Covid is still in the news, but mostly because of the revelations about Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages.

Otherwise, you might get the impression that Covid has gone away.  I work in the NHS.  Until a few weeks ago I was required to undergo a lateral flow test twice a week before coming into contact with patients.  My employer no longer requires me to take a test unless I am symptomatic.  But recently I tested positive without any symptoms, other than a big dip in my HRV (see the sickness flag in the screenshots).

by Tom Hayhoe

I have now had Covid three times, each time very mildly with hardly any symptoms.  The first time was in March 2020, when I am pretty certain that I caught it from a colleague who had recently returned from New York which was a few weeks ahead of the UK in terms of the initial outbreak.  I had a tickly cough for a few days and would not have known that I was infected with Covid (this was before widespread testing) if my wife not lost all sense of taste and smell (at that stage not recognised as symptoms), I had not experienced a brief big fall in my HRV and, when I was tested along with my NHS colleagues a few months later, I had not been found to have antibodies.

The second time was in June 2022 when, already a bit run-down, I caught it from a tour guide on a cycling holiday in Albania (lots of mountains!) and skipped a couple of days cycling because of some cold symptoms. I again only discovered it was Covid when I took a test for work.  My HRV had taken a hit during the holiday but I had put it down to chasing my colleagues up those Albanian mountains (having, without thinking about the impact, given blood a couple of days earlier thereby depleting my red blood cells).

Given that some people are still having a very unpleasant time if they catch Covid, particularly vulnerable groups, I am not sure that the relaxation of the testing requirements for NHS staff without symptoms is the right move.  Or maybe the NHS ought to get ithlete for all patient-facing staff and require them to take their HRV daily – and then to test for Covid if their HRV takes a hit?

Try it yourself!

Track your HRV with ithlete for an early warning sign of illness.

You can sign up for a no-obligation 28-day trial below – all you need to do is enter is your email address.