With Christmas rapidly approaching, many are worrying about whether they’ve unknowingly picked up the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
The latest strain of Covid-19 is spreading across the UK at an alarming rate and there have been numerous reports on what signs to look out for, with two common symptoms now coming to light.
There have been over 45,145 Omicron cases confirmed in the UK, with experts still figuring out how dangerous the variant could be.
The Prime minister is considering moving the UK into stage two, which will mean that there will be no indoor mixing, as reported by the Express.
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With the data “under constant review”, the latest research from the Covid Symptom Study – led by Professor Tim Spector, from King’s College London – revealed two emerging symptoms of an Omicron infection.
An analysis of the contributions put forward by infected individuals show that a loss of appetite and brain fog are emerging as “common symptoms” of the Omicron variant.
Other “top” symptoms include: a runny nose, headache, fatigue, sneezing, and a sore throat.
The researchers noted that while Omicron cases are rising, the proportion of hospitalisation and deaths “seems to be dropping”.
Government data shows that while the number of people testing positive for Covid is increasing rapidly, the number of patient admissions into hospital is rising at a much slower pace.
As for the number of deaths within the past 28 days of testing positive for Covid, this has decreased by more than five percent compared to the week prior.
However, “there is often a delay between catching Covid and being hospitalised with complications, so this might change in the coming weeks”, the researchers cautioned.
Although it’s “early days”, such a trend has been attributed to the majority of contributors to the Covid Symptom Study having been vaccinated.
More than 28,978,244 people have now had their booster jab, and more than 47,051,876 people have had two Covid vaccines.
The experts at the Covid Symptom Study warned, however, that “if the rate of cases gets very high, we will inevitably see a high volume of death and hospitalisation”.
An Omicron infection is also predicted to leave one in 50 people with long-term symptoms that disrupt a person’s day-to-day life.
Do I really need a Covid booster?
Scientists from Imperial College London noted: “Omicron largely evades immunity from past infection or two vaccine doses.”
Dr Sabine van Elsland, from Imperial College London, hypothesised that “reinfection with the Omicron variant is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant”.
Dr Elsland elaborated: “This implies that the protection against reinfection by Omicron afforded by past infection may be as low as 19 percent.”
Research suggests that there is an increased risk of symptomatic infection with Omicron compared to the Delta variant.
The study includes people identified as having Omicron infection due to an S gene target failure.
Commenting on the research put forward by Imperial College London is Professor Neil Ferguson.
He said: “[The] level of immune evasion means that Omicron poses a major, imminent threat to public health.”
Testing positive for Covid
Anybody suspecting they are experiencing symptoms of Covid are encouraged to get tested.
The NHS said anybody who tests positive for Covid should “self-isolate immediately”.
Self-isolation include the day when symptoms began and the next 10 full days.
“If you were already self-isolating and had a test because you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive, your self-isolation period restarts if you test positive,” the NHS added.
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