Covid symptoms: The sign reported by more than two in three patients as cases soar by 20%

Covid-19: Dr Hilary calls for return of masks as cases rise

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The circulation of two new Omicron sub-variants is thought to have fuelled a surge in coronavirus cases of 20 percent in a week, according to new data. One in 25 people in England is believed to have had the virus by the end of June, the figures suggest. Many of those who have tested positive in recent weeks have reported suffering a headache prior to infection.

The growth of the two new subvariants is likely to be the cause of the latest increase, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

The new data, suggests 2.7 million people were infected in the UK last week.

The new figures are being regarded as evidence that the spread of the virus is once again gaining pace.

Experts have warned these numbers could grow further through the month of July owing to waning immunity among older people.

Sarah Crofts, head of analytical outputs for the COVD-19 infection survey, said: “These increases are due to rises in infections with the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, which have been dominant since mid-June.

“Scotland continues to have the highest infection rate, although it has recently increased at a slower rate compared with other UK countries.”

According to the latest figures, the total number of people in hospitals in England with Covid was at 11,878 on Thursday, marking an increase of 33 percent from the previous week.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Doctor Spiegelhalter Spiegelhalter, a British statistician, described the current tally as “high”.

He also warned there was likely a “huge undercount” in testing, adding: “It’s not as high as it had been – it went up to eight percent this year – but I think we need to look at hospitalisations.

“They have been rising steeply and they are nearly at the level of previous peaks this year. I think there are some indications that they are topping off.

“Fortunately, there is no increase in those on ventilation. That doesn’t mean there are not some severe cases.”

According to a report from the Covid analysis app ZOE, headache is now the most reported symptom.

The figures show more than two in three of all Covid patients signed up to the app report suffering a headache before testing positive for the virus.

Professor Tim Spector, who leads the Zoe Health Study app, told the Guardian: “There are definitely a lot of people who got Covid at the start of the year who are getting again, including some with BA.4/5 who have BA.1/2 just months ago, who thought they would be protected.”

Although all available COVID-19 vaccines confer adequate levels of protection against severe illness, the latest Omicron spin-offs have proven more infectious.

Experts have previously warned that a key trait of these sub-variants is their ability to break through herd immunity.

Doctor May Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Vaccination remains the best defence against severe disease and hospitalisation.

“Covid-19 has not gone away and we should all remember to keep up a good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face-covering in crowded, enclosed spaces.”

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