Saturday, 3 Dec 2022

Top Covid symptom no longer loss of smell or fever says expert

Deaths from lockdown may exceed those from Covid says expert

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The latest jump in cases has spurred concern among experts that the UK could be entering a new wave of infections fuelled by immune-evading strains. Recent data from the Office for National Statistics suggest the number of people testing positive for coronavirus in private households is approximately at around 1.1 million people, and two-thirds of these cases are now reporting having a sore throat.

Professor Tim Spector, the co-founder of the Covid ZOE app, said that sore throat has now taken over as the new dominant Covid symptom.

People using the app have previously reported having a sore throat that feels similar to what a person might expect during a cold or laryngitis.

The health body explains: “Covid-related sore throats tend to be relatively mild and last no more than five days.

“A very painful sore throat that lasts more than five days may be something else such as bacterial infections, so don’t be afraid to contact your GP if the problem persists.

“It’s important to remember that sore throats are common and caused by lots of respiratory illnesses such as colds.”

According to the health body, a sore throat will typically emerge within the first week of illness and improve quickly.

Professor Spector said: “Many people are still using the Government guideline about symptoms which are wrong.

“Fever and loss of smell are really rare now – so many old people may not think they’ve got Covid. They’d say it’s a cold and not be tested.”

He added: “It looks like we’re in the start of the next wave and this time it’s affected older people slightly earlier than the last wave.”

It comes as figures suggest cases have started to climb and hospitalisations are increasing in the oldest age groups.

According to recent data, the latest sub-variants of Omicron appear to evade immune defences, making it difficult to control numbers as winter approaches.

Professor Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, said: “What’s interesting about these variants is that although they’re slightly different in how they’ve come about they’ve come up with the same changes to get around the body’s immune system.

“What we’re finding is the virus is evolving around the immunity that’s been built up through vaccines and countless infections people have had.

“The biggest concern we’re seeing is that in early data these variants are starting to cause a slight increase in infections.

“In a way, this was to be expected but it does demonstrate that we’re not out of the woods yet at all with this virus, sadly.”

Variations of the virus have been predicted to weaken its hold, but it’s the diffusion of Covid vaccines that have helped curb the spread of Covid during previous waves.

Health officials are now urging the public to get a booster dose, adding that the bivalent booster could be key to preventing a devastating wave in the coming months.

These vaccines combine the original COVID-19 with a reformulation aimed to protect against the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant.

UK Retail Pharmacies started offering bivalent COVID-19 booster shots on September 13, after they were approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for anyone aged 12 and up.

Both the Modern and Pfizer-BioBTech vaccines are on offer to anyone who has completed their original Covid vaccine at least two months ago.

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