Omicron variant: The ‘really important’ symptom seen in 57% of cases – not ‘classic’

Omicron variant: The ‘really important’ symptom seen in 57% of cases – not ‘classic’

01/06/2022

Omicron being called a 'mild disease' is 'incorrect' says Whitty

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Data generated by the ZOE Covid study, which tracks the movements of the pandemic, suggests new cases of Omicron are stabilising. ZOE scientists believe this positive trend is being driven by new daily cases dropping in London, which has been the epicentre of the Omicron spread until recently. Nonetheless, ZOE data estimates that 51.3 percent of people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic COVID-19, an increase of around three percentage points from last week.

All this suggests that Omicron may be in retreat but spotting the symptoms and self-isolating remains crucial.

In her latest video, Doctor Claire Steves, scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app and Reader at King’s College London, commented on the evolving picture of symptoms.

“Classic symptoms are much less prevalent,” the doc said.

She continued: “Loss of smell has dramatically dropped off the ranking to 26th.”

Sore throat is a “really important” symptom, Doctor Steves added.

Drawing on the data submitted to the ZOE app, she reported that a sore throat is being seen in 57 percent of all cases.

Other common symptoms include:

  • Headache (65 percent)
  • Fatigue 65 (65 percent)
  • Runny nose (65 percent)
  • Sneezing (55 percent).

How the picture looks across the UK

According to ZOE Covid Study incidence figures, in total there are currently 208,471 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average, based on PCR and LF test data from up to three days ago.

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This represents an increase of eight percentage points from 192,290 reported last week.

In the vaccinated population (at least two doses), there are currently 93,540 new daily symptomatic cases in the UK: an increase of 19 percentage points from 78,748 new daily cases reported last week.

In terms of prevalence, on average one in 25 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid.

Cases are rising in all regions apart from London where cases are now falling sharply.

Cases in the age groups see cases going down in 18-35 year olds.

However, cases are still rising in all age groups above 35 and in particular, cases are now rising in the over 75s, and this group is more at risk of hospitalisation.

According to the data, ZOE estimates that 51.3 percent of people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic COVID-19, an increase of around three percentage points from last week.

The ZOE Covid Study incidence figures (new symptomatic cases) are based on reports from around 840,000 weekly contributors and the proportion of newly symptomatic users who have received positive swab tests.

The latest survey figures were based on data from 68,651 recent swab tests done in the two weeks up to 03 January 2022.

Commenting on the latest data, Doctor Claire Steves said: “It’s good news that the number of daily new cases has slowed for now. ZOE Covid Study data shows that this slow down is being driven by cases falling in London and in younger age groups.

“However, it’s worrying to see cases increasing in the over 75 age group. This is the group we need to protect as they are the most likely to be hospitalised as a result of a Covid infection. It’s too early to know if cases have truly peaked in London, as schools are yet to reopen after the holidays.

“We’ve seen school terms driving infection waves throughout the pandemic. The health and care systems are already under huge pressure, so we all need to take personal responsibility for limiting the spread of Covid. This could be in the form of regular testing, wearing masks, staying away from busy crowded places, meeting up outside and getting booster vaccines.”

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