Covid: UK in the ‘midst of a very big wave’ warns professor – symptom seen in 66% of cases

Omicron sub-variant discussed by infectious disease expert

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COVID-19 is ramping up its rate of transmission in the UK, with cases approaching the historical high seen back in March. According to the latest ZOE figures, there are currently 285,507 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average. That’s a continued increase of 27 percent from 225,464 reported the previous week.

The ZOE Covid symptom study app aims to provide a more real-time picture of what’s happening on the ground from thousands of users across the UK.

Speaking in his latest YouTube video, King’s College professor Tim Spector, who leads the ZOE study, said the figures provide a stark clarity to the situation.

“No doubt we are in the midst of a very big wave that looks set to overtake previous numbers,” warned the professor.

More concerning still is the “notable” increase in hospitalisations, he said.

That’s something we all need to worry about, especially as the NHS is already at “breaking point”, said Professor Spector.

He also broke down the latest symptoms, ranking them in order of prevalence.

Coming in at number one is a runny nose, seen in 66 percent of cases, said Professor Spector.

This is followed by:

  • Sore throat (65 percent)
  • Headache (64 percent)
  • Persistent cough (62 percent)
  • Mild and severe fatigue (62 percent).

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Commenting on the rise, Professor Spector said: “Our ZOE Health Study data shows the UK is in a new Covid wave that could soon exceed 300,000 daily cases, bringing us to levels seen during the height of the pandemic for the UK.

“It has already overtaken previous records in Scotland. Our app based data is reassuringly in line with the ONS survey last week – but their results are lagging behind ours by up to a week.

“The increase is primarily due to the Omicron BA.5 Covid variant which is now dominant in the UK. This variant is particularly good at immune escape, causing an increase in reinfections in people in spite of vaccines and natural immunity, particularly over the past few weeks. With the large numbers of festivals happening, I predict rates will continue to rise for the next week or so.

“The only good news is that the symptoms are still mild with fewer deaths than in other earlier waves, though worryingly the number of hospitalisations is rapidly increasing. I’d still advise people to protect themselves by wearing good quality FFP2 or FFP3 masks in crowded or poorly ventilated areas and testing themselves if possible if they have any Covid symptoms.”

What should I do if I spot symptoms?

The NHS says to try and stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and either:

  • You have a high temperature
  • You do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities.

“Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19,” the health body advises.

It adds: “You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.”

Meanwhile, make sure you’re fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine to ensure you’re best equipped to deal with the infection.

See the latest Covid vaccine stats below and visit InYourArea for all the Covid vaccine latest

Everyone aged five and over can get a first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

People aged 16 and over, and some children aged 12 to 15, can also get a booster dose.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.

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