Latest covid symptoms amid thousands of new cases and FLiRT variants

a person simulating taking a Covid 19 lateral flow test
The number of people in hospital with covid has also risen -Credit:Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Thousands of new covid cases in the UK could be being driven by new variants of the disease.

Figures released by the UK Health Security Agency show there has been a sharp increase in covid cases week-on-week. The new variants could already be dominant as the number of people hospitalised with covid in England has also increased.

WalesOnline reports the spike could be caused by a mutation called FLiRT as three new FLiRT strains, KP.1.1, KP.3 and KP.2 now account for 40% of all cases in the UK. The figures were last updated at the end of April, meaning the strain could now be responsible for more than 50% of all cases and be dominant in the UK.

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Earlier this month, Professor Christina Pagel, of University College London, told i: "I think we are at the start of a covid wave driven by the FLiRT variants which are quite likely to be at about 50% of total infections now."

The UKHSA reports a 21.2% week-on-week increase in covid cases in England, and a 73% increase in patients admitted to hospital with covid. There were also 106 new covid deaths, though this is down from 109 in the previous week.

Covid symptoms

According to the NHS, symptoms can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours

  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

  • shortness of breath

  • feeling tired or exhausted

  • an aching body

  • a headache

  • a sore throat

  • a blocked or runny nose

  • loss of appetite

  • diarrhoea

  • feeling sick or being sick

The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.

Most people feel better within a few days or weeks of their first Covid-19 symptoms and make a full recovery within 12 weeks. For some people, it can be a more serious illness and their symptoms can last longer.

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