Concerns are growing as new outbreaks of the highly transmissible omicron variant lead to a surge in cases in countries around the world.
Relatives of omicron XBB and XBB.1.5 have been reported in several countries, including the UK, so UK health officials are urging a Covid-19 vaccine and other protective measures against the virus.
Earlier this month, UKHSA (UK Health and Safety Agency) advised Brits to stay home if feeling unwell, or wear a mask when going out, to curb the risk of new waves of covid-19.
The UKHSA then warned that covid-19 and influenza were currently “circulating at high levels” and could continue to increase in the coming weeks.
At least 4% of infections currently being sequenced are believed to be caused by the XBB.1.5 variant of covid-19. In October 2022, WHO (World Health Organization) stated that there is preliminary evidence that XBB has a higher risk of reinfection compared with other prevalent omicron subvariants.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and founder of the ZOE health research app, warns that the new omicron outbreak could be a new variant “to watch in 2023”.
As covid-19 continues to spread at high speed across the UK, analysis from the ZOE project sees independentshowing that sore throat was the most common symptom reported by participants during the 30 days ending January 3, 2023.
The ZOE app allows infected people to report their symptoms through the app when they are allegedly infected with the virus in order to gain a better understanding of covid-19 and its evolution. The submitted data will then be analyzed by King’s College London, which tracks infections across the UK and identifies who is most at risk.
Here are the top 10 symptoms reported in the last month:
- Sore throat: 57.3%
- Nasal congestion: 57.8%
- Nasal secretions: 55.5%
- Sneezing: 52%
- Cough without sputum: 50.7%
- Headache: 49.6%
- Cough with phlegm: 47.3%
- Hoarseness: 41.4%
- Muscle pain: 24.7%
- Smell change: 22.32%