(OPINION) New data from the Zoe symptom-tracker app suggests one in two people with new cold-like symptoms will have COVID-19 rather than the common cold.

According to Insider, Tim Spector, an epidemiologist, and the study’s lead author said in a press release on Thursday that for most people, getting infected with Omicron would feel “much more like the common cold, starting with a sore throat, runny nose and a headache,” rather than fevers, continuous cough, or loss of taste or smell.

To get to the 50% figure, Spector and his team compared the number of new cases of a cold-like illness with the number of new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by a lateral flow or lab test. “We need to change public messaging urgently to save lives as half of the people with cold-like symptoms now have COVID-19,” Spector said.

“It’s virtually impossible” to tell between a cough and COVID-19 unless you get tested, he said. Scientists are still racing to find out whether the Omicron variant, which is quickly spreading in several countries including the UK, US, Denmark, and South Africa, does indeed cause milder illness than Delta.

In his statement, Spector said it was still too early to gauge Omicron’s severity from the data available — a perspective shared by many other experts, as Insider reported Thursday. According to Spector’s findings, people with Omicron who reported symptoms on the Zoe app were less likely to have five or more symptoms than those with Delta. READ MORE



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