Covid: 10 most common Omicron symptoms to look for as UK infections hit new record high
‘Traditional’ Covid symptoms such as a fever and loss of smell are now much less common
Covid infections in the UK have soared by almost 800,000 in a week, with some parts of the country nearing the record levels seen during the spring.
A total of 3.5 million people are estimated to have had Covid last week, up 29% from 2.7 million the week before, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
It marks the highest estimate for total infections since mid-April, although numbers are still below the record 4.9 million recorded at the peak of the Omicron BA.2 wave at the end of March.
An average of 351,000 people are contracting the virus each day, according to data from ZOE Covid study app, which is an increase of 13% from the beginning of this month. The previous record high of 350,000 daily infections was set in late March 2022.
The recent surge has largely been driven by the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 which are both much better at evading immunity built up by vaccination and past infection compared to their predecessor BA.2.
Health experts say there is “currently no evidence” to suggest the newest variants cause more serious illness, but the number of patients with Covid is creeping closer to the levels reached during the two waves of infection earlier this year.
The range of symptoms being reported is also changing as more people are infected with BA.4 and BA.5, with data from the ZOE Covid Study now showing a sore throat is the most common sign of infection.
By comparison, the more “old fashioned” Covid symptoms have dropped much further down the rankings, including a fever, and a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.
Professor Tim Spector, the lead scientist behind the research, said: “If you’re not testing, you should assume it’s Covid at the moment because it’s far more prevalent than anything else out there.
“It’s much more likely to be Covid than a summer cold.”
If you feel unwell or experience any Covid symptoms, it is advised that you stay at home and avoid contact with others where possible.
Listed are the 10 most reported Covid symptoms to look for right now, based on data from the ZOE Covid Study app.