A leading professor has warned people to assume they have Covid if they wake up with two telltale symptoms.
Professor Tim Spector, founder of the Covid Zoe app, warned that fatigue in the morning, even after a good night’s sleep, and a sore throat might be signs of infection.
He added that a sore throat was more commonly reported in people with coronavirus than a regular common cold.
It comes as Covid infections in the UK increased in the week to 14 July by 7 per cent to almost 3.8 million, from 3.5 million in the week before, according to the Office for National Statistics. This is the highest estimate for total infections since mid-April, but is still below the record of 4.9 million reached at the end of March.
If you spot these two symptoms you should assume it’s Covid, Professor Spector wrote.
“There are twice as many Covid cases as common colds currently,” he tweeted. “The ratio has never been so high.
“Symptoms much the same except generally more fatigue and sore throat – so best to assume it’s Covid!
“Hopefully, this wave will be over soon.”
Professor Spector added: “Try to get tested if you can. If you can’t get tested, assume you’ve got a cold and stay away from other people until you feel better.”
Last week he said: “New study suggests that new BA4 and BA5 variants work by both evading the existing immune defences and also neutralising some of them. No surprise they are so successful as UK cases soar to record levels.”
Coronavirus remains most prevalent in Scotland, where 340,900 people were estimated to have had the virus in the week to 14 July, or around one in 15.
This is up slightly from 334,000, or one in 16, and is the highest estimate for Scotland since the start of April, although the ONS describes the trend here as “uncertain”. In England, 3.1 million people were likely to have had the virus in the week to 13 July, the equivalent of around one in 17. This is up from 2.9 million, or one in 19, a week earlier.
According to the ONS, there has been a large increase in the number of reinfections during this current Omicron wave. Analysis showed that in England infection levels were higher than during the first Covid wave, though hospital admissions during that “Alpha” wave were twice as high and the number of deaths 14 times higher.
However, Professor Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said that infections were probably falling because the ONS data was about two or three weeks behind.
“It is worth restating that the ONS infection survey primarily publishes prevalence of Covid – ie, the proportion of the population testing positive – and a week or more later than the samples were taken on which the results are based. Because people can remain positive for about 11 days after first becoming positive for Covid, the ONS data is always about two to three weeks behind the epidemic curve, as far as new infections – incidence – are concerned,” Prof Hunter said.