Omicron: Half of all people in UK with cold-like symptoms are likely to have Covid, researchers warn

The Zoe Covid study group have released data which shows that half of those suffering from traditional cold-like symptoms are likely to be infected with Covid-19

<p>Experts have warned that half of all people in the UK with cold-like symptoms will most likely be infected with Covid-19. (Credit: Shutterstock)</p>

Experts have warned that half of all people in the UK with cold-like symptoms will most likely be infected with Covid-19. (Credit: Shutterstock)

UK researchers have warned that around half of UK adults suffering from cold-like symptoms are actually likely to be infected with the coronavirus.

The Zoe Covid study group has gathered data which shows that around half of respondents those who have tested positive for the virus have been experiencing symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or headache.

‘Explosion’ of Covid cases in the UK

Researchers from the ZOE team have said that they have seen an “explosion” of cases in the 18-54-year-old age group while tracking case positivity of the virus.

The rapid raise came as Omicron began to grip the country, with 119,789 daily cases confirmed by the UK Government as of 23 December.

Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist of the ZOE Covid study team, said: “The number of new symptomatic cases has exploded over the last week, making it the biggest jump in cases I’ve seen since we started the ZOE COVID Study. 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.

While many may experience an asymptomatic infection, some will experience traditional Covid-19 symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and/or smell and continuous cough.

However, some people may pass off less known symptoms as a cold, which are more common with the Omicron infection.

What are the symptoms of Omicron?

The main symptoms of Omicron are often mistaken for those associated with the cold.

These include:

  • Fatigue
  • Body aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Scratchy throat
  • Night sweats
  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nausea

Most people infected with Omicron have so far experienced mild symptoms which last a few days.

Early evidence from recent studies have shown that those infected with Omicron are significantly less likely to be hospitalised with the virus than those infected with other strains of Covid-19.

Professor Spector issued a warning that anyone with cold-like symptoms should get tested for Covid-19 as soon as possible.

He said: “The number of new symptomatic cases has exploded over the last week.

“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.

“We need to change public messaging urgently to save lives.”

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.