Runny nose confirmed as top Omicron symptom in study – see full list of signs

A runny nose has been confirmed as the top symptom of the Omicron Covid variant according to the ZOE Covid study run by Tim Professor Spector

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Londoners warned of top five Omicron symptoms

A runny nose has been confirmed as a top symptom of the Omicron Covid variant, according to the ZOE Covid study.

The study has created a new symptom profile for Omicron after having focused on an initial analysis of positive cases in London, where the virus is surging.

Whilst a loss of taste and smell were once amongst the top symptoms, ZOE found that a runny nose now tops the list.

This comes as the virus surges in the UK, and the booster programme reaches nearly record daily jab highs in a desperate attempt to cut the deadly fourth wave off.

The new symptoms are a far cry from the loss of sense of smell and taste that the first wave brought


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Professor Tim Spector, lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, said: “Omicron symptoms are predominantly cold symptoms, runny nose, headache, sore throat and sneezing, so people should stay at home as it might well be COVID.

“Hopefully people now recognise the cold-like symptoms which appear to be the predominant feature of Omicron.”

The latest survey figures were based on data from 52,489 swab tests done in the two weeks leading up to December 11.

The top five symptoms reported in the ZOE app were:

1) Runny nose

2) Headache

3) Fatigue (either mild or severe)

4) Sneezing

5) Sore throat

The study was released only a day after the UK broke its record for new daily cases on two consecutive days as 87,131 were reported Wednesday.

Ahead of a tough winter, the UK R value remains around 1.0 according to the study across every nation.

However, London, a current Covid hot spot, was reported to have an R value of 1.1 and is currently seeing a rapid rise in cases, something that could be a precursor for the rest of the country.

Due to the high rates, on average one in 56 people in England, one in 46 people in Wales, and one in 79 people in Scotland have symptomatic Covid according to ZOE.

London and parts of the East Midlands are current Covid hotspots in the UK


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Alongside London, the midlands, in particular south Northamptonshire, the East of England and Wales are all hot spots ahead of what is expected to be a tough winter.

Split across age groups, Covid is more prevalent and rising amongst younger age groups, including students and schoolchildren.

Cases are high amongst 0-18 year-olds, and rising rapidly in people aged 19-35.

Rates are increasing more steadily in the 36-55 age group and are remaining low and even dropping in older age groups.

The booster vaccine campaign is the government’s main defence against the surging covid rates


AFP via Getty Images)

The ZOE study also said that 1,418 people a day will experience long Covid, symptoms for more than 12 weeks.

Professor Spector added: “Omicron is set to be the dominant strain in the UK by Christmas, and in the New Year cases could hit a peak higher than anything we’ve ever seen before.

“In London cases have been rising rapidly, but this will likely slow down soon, as people change their behaviour, such as wearing face masks again, cancelling parties and working from home more.

“These are the changes that will slow the spread of the virus. It’s my hope that the rest of the country is doing the same to avoid big outbreaks outside of London, especially in big cities.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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