‘Omicron outbreak’ surges in the UK – new ‘top 5’ Covid symptoms

According to the Zoe Health Study, there is an estimated 3,084,268 symptomatic Covid cases in the UK right now, which doesn’t include asymptomatic cases. The figures are based on PCR and LFT (lateral flow test) data updated on October 14, 2022. “Incidence rates are now being calculated with a two day lag to help us track the Omicron outbreak,” the research team noted.

Covid infections have steadily been increasing since mid September and, as with all viruses, the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (which causes Covid) is “rapidly evolving”.

As such, its ability to spread and infect people, as well as the symptoms it causes, changes over time.

Based on daily reports on the Zoe Covid Study app, the “top five symptoms” of Covid that have emerged in recent weeks differ depending on vaccination status.

In those who have been fully vaccinated, the reported symptoms of Covid include a runny nose, headache, sneezing, a sore throat, and a persistent cough.

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The experts added: “Fewer symptoms were reported over a shorter period of time by those who had already had a jab.”

This data suggests that vaccinated people were “falling less seriously ill and getting better more quickly”.

“Traditional” Covid symptoms, such as loss of smell, shortness of breath, and fever have fallen down the ranks of reported symptoms.

“A persistent cough now ranks at number five if you’ve had two vaccine doses, so is no longer the top indicator of having Covid,” the researchers added.


Vaccinated individuals were “more likely” to report sneezing as symptom of Covid than those who have not had the jab.

For those who have only had one Covid vaccine, the symptoms – in order of prevalence – are as follows:

  1. Headache
  2. Runny nose
  3. Sore throat
  4. Sneezing
  5. Persistent cough.

Unvaccinated individuals most commonly reported a headache, sore throat, runny nose, fever, and a persistent cough (in that order).

“Our results are based on your vaccine records and daily symptom reports,” the researchers clarified.

READ MORE: Ignoring blood clot symptoms in the leg could lead to amputation

“As we have found, even people who have had one or two doses of the vaccination can still be susceptible to contracting Covid.

“And the symptoms and severity differ depending on how many vaccinations you’ve had, if any.”

While Covid testing has not been mandatory for an extended period of time, people experiencing symptoms of Covid are still advised to “stay home”.

This is to help curb the spread of the virus that can circulate easier in winter as more people spend time together indoors.

The Royal Voluntary Service are calling out for people to support Covid vaccination this autumn and winter.

Stewardship roles are available, which can involve greeting people coming in for vaccination, admin duties, and overseeing the waiting area people go to post jab.

NHS Volunteer Responders will need to commit to at least one shift per week, when shifts are available.

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