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Coronavirus: Two new variants spark 150% surge in cases – expert describes symptoms

Coronavirus: 'Prepare for another surge in winter' says Nabarro

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Of the recent data, public health expert Dr Linda Bauld said: “The ONS infection survey showed about a 23 percent increase in that week up to the June 17.

“We’ve seen pretty consistent rises over the last few weeks and because we have less testing that’s our best estimate at what’s happening with the virus in the community and this is not where we wanted to be in the middle of summer.

“We’ve also seen about a 20-23 percent rise in the number of people in hospital. It’s still low, it’s about 7 and a half thousand now, but it’s up from about 5,000 a little while ago.”

Virologist, Dr Christopher Smith, added the case numbers were “up by 150 percent or so”.

While the numbers make for grim reading on the surface, there is currently no reason to worry, yet, but “we’re watching this very carefully” said Dr Bauld.

Meanwhile, Dr Smith commented that very few of these new cases were resulting in “severe consequences”.

Dr Smith added: “Most people are catching the infection, they will have some symptoms, but this is not translating in the vast majority of cases into severe disease. The evidence for that is the number of people in intensive care with Covid remains incredibly low, around about 100.

“This time last year when we were staring freedom day in the face, we deferred a little bit because of the arrival of Delta, we had hundreds more in intensive care and only a tiny number of cases of coronavirus in the country.”

So, while case numbers are rising quickly, marking the start of a new wave, this doesn’t mean the country is on the road to restrictions.

It also doesn’t mean that there aren’t any reasons to be concerned.

Since last year, the government reduced testing capacity, partially blinding its viral security position.

As a result, the UKHSA (United Kingdom Health Security Agency)’s knowledge of where cases are rising and how quickly is more limited than it would have been.

Why are we seeing this outbreak now?

As well as the role of the two Omicron subvariants, recent mass gatherings and waning immunity have also had an impact.

Dr Smith said: “We’ve also had mass gatherings with the Jubilee and so on and that was great, but it did afford the virus lots of contact between people and opportunities to spread.

“They [Omicron subvariants] spread better it would appear and so when you add that to the fact it’s now quite a long time elapsed since most people either had their vaccine or had their boosters or both.”

Whether this leads to a change in symptoms is yet to be seen.

Current symptoms of coronavirus to look out for include:

·         A high temperature

·         A new, continuous cough

·         A loss or change to sense of smell or taste

·         Shortness of breath

·         Feeling tired or exhausted

·         An aching body

·         A headache

·         A sore throat

·         A blocked or runny nose

·         Loss of appetite

·         Diarrhoea

·         Feeling or being sick.

The new wave of coronavirus cases comes as monkeypox cases also rise and polio is detected in the UK for the first time since 1984.

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