A new COVID study from the UK says that one in three people who have the sniffles or other symptoms of the common cold actually have COVID-19 infection.
Professor Tim Spector, who runs a Covid study that tracks data from one million people in Britain, said that fully vaccinated adults were more likely to have mild cold-like symptoms.
Genetic epidemiology professor said: Anyone with symptoms, like a runny nose or a sore throat, should stay at home and not go to any Christmas parties until they get a negative test result.
Professor Spector, who directs the Zoe Covid project at King’s College London, stated: “At the moment, we’re estimating that somewhere between one in three and one in four colds are actually due to Covid.”
On Times Radio, he said the UK needs to be “more open-minded” about who is being tested and get more people to stay inside for at least a few days when they start to feel sick.
“That’s quite a high rate of people that are currently not even bothered to get a lateral flow test, or getting a PCR test, going to parties and spreading it around,” said the professor.
“So if that transfers to Omicron then we’re going to be compounding that problem much faster than we would need to.”
He said that people should stay home for a few days if they get a cold, just to be safe.
He further added: “That’s when you’re most contagious, that’s when you’re most likely to transmit.
“Whether it’s a respiratory virus, you’re just giving someone a cold, or you might be giving them Omicron or Delta, then it’s those first few days.
“And so we should really be encouraging people not to come in to the office, not to go to that Christmas party if they’re feeling unwell. Take a test and then, when the symptoms subside, they can come out – it doesn’t have to be ten days but just those first few days are probably the most crucial.
“I think we need to get that message out there if we’re going to really have an impact in the next few weeks.
“Everyone needs to be much more aware of a whole range of symptoms and not wait for the loss of smell or taste which may never come, not wait for fever, not wait for that persistent cough.”
Scientists are optimistic that the Omicron variation would not cause more severe symptoms and that vaccine-induced T-cell immunity will prevent severe disease. T-cells are a sort of white blood cell that kills Covid.
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