Coronavirus: 'Wrong time to lift restrictions' says Greenhalgh
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Britain is currently experiencing another wave of Covid cases thanks to BA.2 – a highly transmissible offshoot of the Omicron variant. There are early signs the current wave has crested: the week up to 9 April saw a decline in the numbers of infections compared to the week before. While the trend is encouraging, the numbers are still very high. There are currently more than four million people testing positive for the virus.
The loss of free Covid tests in England has put the onus squarely on Britons to self-isolate if they exhibit symptoms.
According to the latest data generated by the ZOE Covid Study app, which tracks the symptom profile of Covid from thousands of user submissions every week, a runny nose is the top symptom currently seen in the UK, accounting for 83 percent of all symptomatic cases.
This is followed by fatigue (71 percent) and sore throat (69 percent).
According to Professor Tim Spector, who heads up the ZOE Covid app, if you don’t have a runny nose, fatigue or a sore throat, then your chances of it being Covid are actually “quite small”.
To further confuse matters, the top three symptoms are easily confused with hay fever.
As the NHS points out, hay fever can give you a runny nose, an itchy throat and leave you feeling tired.
However, a key distinction between Covid symptoms and those associated with hay fever is that the latter does not result in a fever but the former can, TV’s Doctor Hilary recently pointed out.
A fever is now an uncommon symptom of Covid, however.
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The ZOE list ranks the current Covid symptoms in the following order:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Persistent cough
- Hoarse voice
- Chills or shivers
- Unusual joint pains
- Brain fog
- Eye soreness
- Altered smell
- Unusual muscle pain
- Lower back pain
- Swollen glands
- Skipped meals
- Ear Ringing.
The list is considerably more extensive than the one recently updated by the NHS.
The health body recently added nine new symptoms to its official Covid list.
According to the NHS, symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in adults can include:
- A high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired or exhausted
- An aching body
- A headache
- A sore throat
- A blocked or runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling sick or being sick.
“The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu,” explains the health body.
It says you should try to 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.”
Is the tide turning?
About 4.4 million people tested positive for Covid in the UK in the week up to 9 April, down from nearly 4.9 million the week before.
That’s about one in 15 people testing positive for the virus, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows.
The study tests thousands of people at random – whether or not they have symptoms – to estimate how much virus there is in the country.
The figures give rise to cautious optimism. The number infected still remains very high, despite the 10 percent drop recorded by the ONS.
Sarah Crofts, from the ONS, said: “Across most parts of the UK, infections have thankfully begun to decrease.
“It is too early to say if we have passed the peak of infections, and infections overall remain high.”
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