Shirley Ballas provides update on how she's coping with COVID
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Covid cases are soaring across the country right now, as experts warn that the UK could soon be gripped by a major autumn wave. In just the last fortnight, the number of cases of people being hospitalised from the virus have doubled. According to NHS figures, there are now about 1,129 new patients per day – up from 574 per day in mid-September. This rise in cases has led leading experts to warn that two symptoms, in particular, are very indicative of being infected with Covid-19, which is particularly important as cases of winter flu gradually rise. As the virus evolves into new variants, experts note that the symptoms change slightly, but generally, increased fatigue and a sore throat could be taken as a sign to get yourself tested.
Professor Tim Spector, the founder of the Covid Zoe app, warned that currently there are twice as many Covid cases as there are cases of the winter flu.
He suggested that two symptoms- feeling fatigued in the morning, even after a good night’s sleep, and a sore throat might be signs of infection, adding that soar throat was more commonly reported in people suffering from Covid, rather than common cold.
In a tweet, he warned that people should take these two signs as indication that they might have Covid, writing: “Twice as many covid cases as common colds currently- 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.”
He also 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.”
According to NHS figures, there are now about 1,129 new patients per day – up from 574 per day in mid-September. Overall cases are also climbing, which is causing health chiefs to fear they could be seeing a third wave of patients since April.
Prof Spector also warned of new variants of the coronavirus, that could evolve to evade the humanity developed by the population through vaccinations and previous infection.
In July, 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.”
Experts have warned that the virus could soon evolve and form convergent mutations when different variants have the same features as other variants, which makes it harder for the immune system to fight the virus.
Speaking to New Atlas about the convergent mutations, expert Yunlong Cao said: “Seeing this convergent evolution pattern would mean that SARS-CoV-2 would evolve immune-evasive mutations much more frequently than before, and the resulting new variants would be much more immune-evasive.”
Molecular virologist Marc Johnson, also speaking to New Atlas, added: “What we think is happening is that there’s these patients that can’t clear the infection. And the virus, because there are no bottlenecks from spreading from person to person, it just hits the evolutionary fast forward button.”
The Government has been warned as Europe could be “swarmed” by new subvariants of the coronavirus, which could drive a fresh wave across Europe by the end of November.
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Early data has revealed, new subvariants of Omicron have been “evolving around the immunity” that was built up over the past year through vaccinations and Covid infections.
The Biozentrum research facility at the University of Basel, which has been studying the evolution of the virus since the outbreak began in 2019, warned that there is a “collective” of subvariants that are showing an ability to spread rapidly.
The researchers fear that variants like BQ1. and BA.2.75.2 are among the new strains that could trigger a “significant wave” as the colder weather persists.
Cornelius Roemer, a computational biologist with Biozentrum, told The Independent: “The trends we’re seeing at the moment are very different from what’s happened in the past. Omicron was maybe the first variant that was good at evading immunity and that’s why it caused such a large wave.
“Now for the first time, we see many lineages, many variants emerging parallel that all have very similar mutations and that all manage to still evade immunity pretty well.”
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