New set of Omicron symptoms overtakes cough and fever as most common Covid sign
A NEW set of Covid symptoms has taken over the traditional signs as the most common, a leading study has revealed.
The ZOE COVID study has been tracking symptoms since early 2020 with the help of millions of app users.
The most frequently reported symptom is a runny nose, affecting 73 per cent of people who had a positive Covid test.
It’s followed by headache (68 per cent), fatigue (64 per cent), sneezing (60 per cent), and sore throat (60 per cent).
Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean it’s definitely due to Covid, as they can also occur with other illnesses.
However, ZOE estimates that more than half (51.3 per cent) of people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic Covid as opposed to another winter bug.
Dr Claire Steves, scientist on the study and Reader at King’s College London, said: “These are cold-like symptoms, and it remains the case that all the classic symptoms -fever, cough and loss of smell - are much less prevalent in the current positive cases.”
Dr Stevens revealed how 20 symptoms rank, showing that loss of smell is “way down at number 17”.
Cough is the sixth most common, while a fever is placed at 10.
These are the classic three symptoms listed by the NHS since the spring of 2020 that warrant a free PCR test.
ZOE experts have repeatedly called for the official list of symptoms to be changed in light of new data.
But previously, health bosses have avoided doing so because symptoms like fatigue and headache are not specific enough to Covid, and therefore including them in the list could swamp testing sites.
Dr Stevens said: “The key takeaway is that the most reported symptoms of Omicron are much like a cold, especially in people who've been vaccinated.
“So if you're feeling at all under the weather, make sure you get a test, make sure you're clear of Covid before arranging to meet anyone you don't live with, and remember if you log your symptoms on the ZOE COVID app, we'll invite you for a PCR test and you can find out if you have Omicron.”
Other symptoms in the top 10 included a hoarse voice and chills or shivers.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
To help avoid any new Covid restrictions, The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms.
The UK Government does not see the need “at this moment in time” for more coronavirus restrictions, a minister said today.
Business minister Paul Scully, asked whether extra measures were “off the table”, told Sky News: “At the moment we are looking at the data but we’ve seen what is happening in London, which was leading the way in the curve of the case numbers, and we don’t see the need to do it at this moment in time.
“We’ll clearly be reviewing our Plan B scenario before January 26 and then we’ll come to Parliament with the decision that has been taken at that time.”
It comes after troops were deployed in London hospitals to help the struggling NHS.
Mr Scully added: “When you talk about armed forces around hospitals, they are not sitting there in combats or anything like that.
“It is more people helping out with the undoubted pressures on the NHS and that’s why we want people to get out and get vaccinated and get boosted, because that remains our best weapon against the pressures on the NHS and against Covid, as we learn to live with Covid.”
Daily case numbers have hit record highs in recent weeks, with over 200,000 per day recorded on Tuesday after a New Year lull in reporting.
The super-mutant Omicron strain is driving the wave and has fast become the most dominant.
Hospitals have seen an influx of patients admitted as a result of the staggeringly high case numbers, with at least 24 NHS trusts reporting “critical incidents” - the highest level of alert which means there are fears priority services cannot be safely delivered.
But deaths have remained low throughout Omicron’s rise to reign, adding to positive data that the strain is milder, jabs work against it, and hospital stays are shorter.