Neil Mabbott, professor of immunopathology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “It is unlikely we are seeing the circulation of a ‘super cold’. Rather, our immune systems have had limited exposure to colds over the past 18 months, so our immunity to these will have waned and will be less effective against colds than would be expected normally.
“This highlights the power of the lockdown, mask-wearing, social distancing and sanitation measures introduced in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Not only was this very effective in reducing transmission of the coronavirus within the community, but at the same time it had the additional benefit of reducing the spread of colds and other common transmissible diseases.”
However, experts warned that some symptoms of colds and Covid can be similar and said it was important to get tested if a fever or cough develops or people begin to lose their sense of taste or smell.
Alan McNally, professor of microbial evolutionary genomics at the University of Birmingham, said: “If you have any symptoms of respiratory infection you should stay at home to prevent transmission and get a test done for Covid-19 to rule in or out.
“Trying to self-diagnose is a surefire way to send Covid-19 case rates soaring again.”