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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Gemma Jones & Sophie Buchan

Covid symptom 'more common' than loss of smell as 'new wave' hits Scotland

Health experts have identified a new common symptom of Covid as a new wave sweeps Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Despite a general drop-off in testing, the Liverpool Echo reports that a new dominant symptom has been found - with two-thirds of patients reporting having a sore throat when they first contract the virus - as opposed to a loss of smell or a fever.

Professor Tim Spector, co-founder of the Covid ZOE app told The Independent: “It looks like we’re in the start of the next wave and this time it’s affected older people slightly earlier than the last wave. Many people are still using the government guidelines about symptoms which are wrong.

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"At the moment, Covid starts in two-thirds of people with a sore throat. Fever and loss of smell are really rare now – so many old people may not think they’ve got Covid. They’d say it’s a cold and not be tested.”

The expert also told the newspaper that early data showed new subvariants of Omicron were becoming immune-evasive and could cause the UK ‘real problems’ as winter approaches with the NHS ‘already on its knees’.

The ONS said that approximately 1.1 million people in private households tested positive for Covid in the latest UK survey, which covers the seven days to September 17 in England and the week to September 30 in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This is the first time that the UK-wide total has been above one million since late August, however, it is way below the 3.8 million weekly infections in early July, marked as the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 wave.

Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, says two Omicron subvariants – known as BA.2.75.2 derived from BA.2, and BQ1.1 derived from BA.5 – are showing signs of being able to escape the immune system. He's finding that the virus is evolving around the immunity that’s been built up through vaccines and infections people have had.

Both professors are calling for stronger messaging from the Government ahead of the winter with Professor Young advocating for the return of face masks in poorly ventilated and crowded indoor spaces.


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