Symptoms of the Omicron variant are identical to the signs of a common cold, meaning Brits may fail to recognise an infection, according to Covid ZOE app co-founder Professor Tim Spector
People with cold symptoms are more likely to be infected with the Omicron strain than a winter sniffle, according to an expert.
Covid ZOE app founder Professor Tim Spector said cases in London are accelerating faster than during the first wave of the virus.
The “majority of symptoms” of Omicron are identical to those suffered during a nasty common cold, he adds..
The five key indicators of infection include headaches, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue and sneezing, North Wales Live reports.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Spector said: “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.
“If we look at our regional charts we see London accelerating more than we’ve seen it since the very first wave and this now means that Omicron is the predominant variant already.
“We’ll be at 100 per cent very soon, so that’s happened in just a matter of days – that is why so many people are going down with infections.”
Professor Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told BBC Breakfast the wave of Omicron was just taking off across the country.
He said: “The wave is coming very fast and in fact alarmingly fast – if anything faster than ever. So it really is a race at the moment.
“The more immunity that we’ve all got the less of a problem this is going to be but I’m afraid it is going to be a serious problem either way.”
He said boosters took effect quickly, adding: “It does come through very fast because you’ve got immunological memory, you’ve seen the antigen before from your previous doses, so the level of protection goes up pretty quick.
“We generally look for the level of protection around two weeks, because that’s probably when you get to pretty much maximum levels, but already at a week your antibody levels will be much higher than they were before you had the booster. So it does get going pretty quick.”
Pleas to remain vigilant this festive period come after NHS executives warned London trusts of a tsunami of cases by mid-January.
Bosses said they expect all Covid surge beds in the capital to be full by the start of the year.
Staff are trying to clear space for incoming patients by discharging others, but some fear it will not free up enough beds.
Leading infectious disease scientist, Graham Medley, said he expects admissions could reach 2,000 a day.
Cabinet ministers were warned earlier this week it could take just four weeks for NHS hospitals to be completely overwhelmed.
A record-breaking 78,610 new Covid cases emerged as of 9am on Wednesday – the highest daily total since the pandemic began.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said: “The wave of Omicron continues to roll in across the whole of our United Kingdom, with over 78,000 Covid cases today, the highest ever daily number reported.
“The doubling rate of Omicron in some regions is now down to less than two days and I’m afraid we are also seeing the inevitable increase in hospitalisations up by 10 per cent nationally week on week and up by almost a third in London.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.