Covid: UK symptoms have changed in a way we haven’t seen ‘ever before’ says professor

Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert

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Covid is back in a big way in the UK, soaring to levels not previously seen. According to the latest data from the ZOE Health Study, which has been collecting data on the general population throughout the pandemic, one in 15 are now struck down with Covid in the UK. The caseload is not the only unprecedented development. The symptom profile has also undergone a new change, according to Professor Tim Spector, ZOE Scientific Co-Founder and lead scientist on the ZOE Health Study.

Speaking on the latest data in his YouTube video, Professor Spector revealed experiencing cold-like symptoms means you’re “twice as likely” to have Covid than any other type of virus.

According to the professor, “we haven’t seen this ever before”.

In light of this development, it’s important to realise that if you have cold-like symptoms it’s probably Covid, the prof said.

“Try and get tested if you can. If you can’t get tested, assume you’ve got a cold and stay away from other people until you feel better.”

The most common cold-like symptoms reported are:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Persistent cough.
  • Mild and severe fatigue.

How rampant is Covid? UK latest

Last week, the ZOE COVID Study logged 349,773 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK.

On average, one in 15 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid.

Commenting on the latest data, Professor said: “Covid is still rampant in the population. ZOE Health Study data shows that there were over 350,000 daily Covid cases this week- a new record for the UK.

“So much so, that if you have any cold-like symptoms at the moment it’s nearly twice as likely to be Covid as a cold.

“Even if people have had a past infection and are fully vaccinated, people are still catching it. This is because there are multiple Covid variants coexisting at the same time (BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5).”

According to the professor, Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 are evading the immune defences much more effectively than previous variants.

In addition to evading the immune defences, these strains are also “dampening them down” so you don’t get that inflammation at first to stop it.

Meanwhile, the heatwave currently cooking the UK is compounding existing pressures on the healthcare service, the Health Secretary said on Monday.

Steve Barclay said contingency measures have been put in place in the health system, but Labour called on ministers to “step up” and “show the urgency this crisis demands”.

Mr Barclay told the Commons: “Even before this heatwave, ambulance services in England have been under significant pressure from increased demand, just as they have across the United Kingdom.

“The additional pressure on our healthcare system from Covid-19, especially on accident and emergency services, has increased the workload of ambulance trusts, increased the average length of hospital stays and contributed to a record number of calls.

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