Three quarters of people with new cold-like symptoms are likely to have Covid, say scientists

Three quarters of people with new cold-like symptoms are likely to have Covid-19, scientists have said (Photo: Shutterstock)
Three quarters of people with new cold-like symptoms are likely to have Covid-19, scientists have said (Photo: Shutterstock)

Three quarters of people with new cold-like symptoms are likely to have Covid-19, scientists have said.

According to new analysis from the ZOE Covid Study, it has been estimated that 75% of people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic Covid, which is up from around 50% last week.

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The study has reported that the data was showing a fall in the number of non-Covid “colds” and a rise in symptomatic coronavirus infections.

It also said that the incidence figures show there are currently 192,290 new daily symptomatic cases of Covid in the UK on average, based on test data from up to three days ago, which is up 33% from the 144,284 reported last week.

The Covid study also found that while the rise in cases appeared to be slowing in the 0 to 55 age groups, it was “rising sharply” in the 55 to 75-year-old groups.

This was “worrying” because this older age group was more at risk of needing hospital treatment, the study said.

The ZOE Covid Study also found that there were 78,748 new daily symptomatic cases in the vaccinated population – those with at least two doses – across the UK, up 40% from 56,346 last week.

The study estimates that on average one in 32 people in the UK currently have symptomatic Covid, rising to one in 30 in England, one in 41 in Wales, and one in 51 in Scotland.

‘The Government advice needs to be urgently updated’

Dr Claire Steves, scientist on the ZOE Covid Study app, said that although the number of daily new symptomatic Covid cases was more than double what it was this time last year, exponential growth appeared to have stopped.

However, Dr Steves said that symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, and runny nose needed to be added to the Government list of Covid symptoms as soon as possible.

She said: “The number of daily new symptomatic Covid cases are more than double what they were this time last year and we are just a day or two away from hitting over 200,000.

“However, the exponential growth in cases appears to have stopped, and the rise is more steady.”

She added: “However, the fact that 75% of new cold-like symptoms are Covid, and the classic symptoms are much less common, means the Government advice needs to be urgently updated.

“We want to see symptoms like sore throat, headache and runny nose added to the list as soon as possible.”