Life may have returned to normal for many of us, but Covid cases are back on the rise, with an estimated 200,000 jump in UK cases during July.
Experts say that a new strain of Omicron, dubbed Eris, is partly to blame for the latest surge – and is responsible for one in seven UK Covid cases.
Other reasons for the increase include the recent wet weather – which is bringing more people together indoors – plus waning immunity from the vaccines, and the Arcturus sub-variant, which also stemmed from Omicron.
Hospitalisations are also up, though, thankfully, there has been a small drop in admissions to intensive care in the past two weeks.
According to the latest data from the UKHSA, 5.4% of UK samples were testing positive for Covid, compared to 3.7% two weeks earlier.
The news comes as scientists find the ‘most extreme’ and ‘most mutated’ Covid variant ever in a patient in Indonesia.
So what are the symptoms of Eris, and how common is it?
Here is what you need to know.
What are the symptoms of Eris?
As it’s a strain of Omicron, the top 10 symptoms are likely to be similar to those commonly reported, which are (according to the Zoe Health Study):
- a sore throat
- a runny nose
- a blocked nose
- a cough without phlegm
- a headache
- a cough with phlegm
- a hoarse voice
- muscle aches and pains
- an altered sense of smell
Traditional symptoms such as shortness of breath, loss of smell and a fever are now far less common, according to the Zoe study.
Where did Eris come from?
Eris reached the UK in early May, and The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now added it – known as EG.5.1 – to the list of variants under monitoring.
This followed reports of it increasingly being found internationally, particularly in Asia.
Worldwide, Eris accounts for around 20 per cent of Covid sequences in Asia, 10 per cent in Europe and seven per cent in North America.
Japan has recently seen a spike in Covid cases.
How dangerous is Eris?
Thankfully, at present, there is no indication that it is any worse than Omicron – and it is not currently listed as a ‘variant of concern’.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: ‘We continue to see a rise in Covid-19 cases in this week’s report.
‘We have also seen a small rise in hospital admission rates in most age groups, particularly among the elderly. Overall levels of admission still remain extremely low and we are not currently seeing a similar increase in ICU admissions.
‘We will continue to monitor these rates closely.’
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at Warwick University, told MailOnline that ‘increased cinema attendance’ as well as ‘more indoor mixing’ due to bad weather may have contributed towards a rise in cases.
He said: ‘Overall levels of infection remain low but this is a wake up call stressing that we can’t be complacent when it comes to Covid.
‘We need to keep an eye on the emergence of variants and be vigilant as we prepare for an inevitable increase in infections over the autumn/winter.’
Follow Metro across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Share your views in the comments below
Source: Read Full Article