The symptoms that make it ‘far more likely’ you have Omicron over a cold – professor

Omicron: Dr Amir talks through the symptoms of the new strain

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A wave of Omicron is cresting over London, with cases surging in the Capital. Naturally, many Londoners will be wondering whether they have the common cold or Omicron. To clear up some of the confusion, Professor Tim Spector, who heads up the ZOE Covid study app, spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Prof Tim Spector said the “majority of symptoms” of the Omicron variant were the same as a common cold, including headaches, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue and sneezing.

In light of this finding, Prof Spector urged those with cold symptoms – not just the classic Covid symptoms – to take a test.

“Things like fever, cough and loss of smell are now in the minority of symptoms we are seeing,” he said.

“Most people don’t have classic symptoms.”

He continued: “In London, where Covid is increasing rapidly, it’s far more likely to be Covid than it is to be a cold. We’re seeing doubling in the numbers equivalent to what’s being seen elsewhere, every two-and-a-half days, and that really means numbers are going up.”

It comes as Doctor Jenny Harries predicted the use numbers will become “staggering” in the next few days.

The chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency told MPs on Wednesday that the strain “is probably the most significant threat since the start of the pandemic”.

While delivering a foreboding speech, Doctor Harries added that it was currently unclear the extent to which the variant would go on to devastate the world.

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