Omicron: Covid cases have ‘exploded’ – three major warning signs of infection

Coronavirus: UK hits record-breaking 119,000+ cases

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The estimated R number stands at 1.2 in England, suggesting the pandemic is growing. Disturbingly, the R value in the capital is predicted to be 1.5. On average, one in 45 people have symptomatic Covid. Cases have “exploded”, said Professor Spector, especially for adults aged between the ages of 18 to 54. ZOE analysis estimated that “half of all people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic Covid”.

Commenting on the latest data, Professor Spector said: “The number of new symptomatic cases has exploded over the last week.”

As such, this is the “biggest jump in cases” Professor Spector and his team have seen since they started the Zoe Covid Study.

The professor continued: “Whilst the figures paint a worrying picture, the good news is that our preliminary data – based on around 2,500 probable cases reported on the ZOE app – suggests that Omicron is more mild that Delta.

“However, this highly transmissible variant will infect many more people before the year is out.”

Professor Spector said he is “shocked” about the Government’s refusal to expand the symptoms list.

“ZOE data clearly shows that the most important symptoms are no longer, a new continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell,” Professor Spector elaborated.

“For most people, an Omicron positive case will feel much more like the common cold, starting with a sore throat, runny nose and a headache.

“You only need to ask a friend who has recently tested positive to find this out.”

As of Friday, December 24, Government statistics show that 122,186 people tested positive for Covid in one day.

Unfortunately, this increase in Covid cases is now turning into increased hospital admissions and Covid deaths.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised no new rules for Christmas, Boxing Day and beyond may paint a different picture.

Professor Spector has given his advice to handle the increase in Omicron cases.

“To help us slow the spread, my advice continues to be avoid gathering indoors,” said Professor Spector.

Although, for Christmas Day, this is unlikely to be on the agenda for many people.

“If you are meeting up with people, check everyone is free of cold symptoms, test yourself just before and get fully vaccinated,” he added.

Free PCR tests can be ordered on the NHS website, as well as lateral flow tests.

The professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London is keen for the Government to update its Covid symptom checklist.

“We need to change public messaging urgently to save lives as half of people with cold-like symptoms now have Covid,” he said.

This is an ongoing plea from the professor that is yet to be followed by the Government.

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