Covid infections have fallen in the UK for the first time in two months, but prevalence of the virus still remains high, new figures show.
A total of 3.2 million people are estimated to have had Covid in the week to 20 July, down 16% from 3.8 million the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
It marks the first time that total infections have dropped since late-May and is the biggest indication so far that the current wave may have peaked.
The recent surge in infections has been driven by the Omicron BA.5 subvariant, which is not the dominant Covid strain in the UK.
Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE Covid Health Study, has said that twice as many people currently have coronavirus compared to the common cold, and warned that symptoms should not be quickly dismissed.
He said: “You are now twice as likely if you have any cold-like symptoms to have Covid than to have any other type of virus. And we haven’t seen this, really, ever before.
“So it’s important to realise that and assume you’ve probably got Covid. Try and get a test if you can.
“If you can’t, or as we are hearing anecdotes of people saying that their tests have been negative the first few days, probably best to assume you’ve got it and stay away from other people.
Prof Spector has also previously hit out at the NHS for failing to update its official symptoms list for almost two years, and while the wider array of symptoms is now reflected on the health services’ guidance, he said it still places too much emphasis on fever and loss of smell or taste.
He notes that symptoms being reported on the ZOE app “shows a very different story”, with cold and flu-like symptoms being much more common.
And while most people who contract Covid will experience cold-like symptoms, other more unusual side effects have been reported, including some that can last for several weeks. Listed are eight of the less common signs of coronavirus you should look out for.