Coronavirus cases in the UK are rising at an exponential rate, official figures show. According to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), the latest estimate for R across the UK is between 1.0 and 1.2. The R rate stands for the reproduction number – it is a way of rating coronavirus or any disease’s ability to spread.

Data analysed from the COVID Symptom Study app, which is led by researchers from King’s College London, has established six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19, each distinguished by a particular cluster of symptoms.

Launched in March in the UK and extended to the US and Sweden, the COVID Symptom Study app asks participants to log their health and any new potential symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis.

With more than four million users, the apP represents the largest study of its kind in the world.

Although continuous cough, fever and loss of smell (anosmia) are usually highlighted as the three key symptoms of COVID-19, data gathered from app users shows that people can experience a wide range of different symptoms including headaches, muscle pains, fatigue, diarrhoea, confusion, loss of appetite, shortness of breath.

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The progression and outcomes also vary significantly between people, ranging from mild flu-like symptoms or a simple rash to severe or fatal disease.

To find out whether particular symptoms tend to appear together and how this related to the progression of the disease, the research team used a machine learning algorithm to analyse data from a subset of around 1,600 users in the UK and US with confirmed COVID-19 who had regularly logged their symptoms using the app in March and April.

The analysis revealed six specific groupings of symptoms emerging at characteristic timepoints in the progression of the illness, representing six distinct ‘types’ of COVID-19.

All people reporting symptoms experienced headache and loss of smell, with varying combinations of additional symptoms at various times.

Some of these, such as confusion, abdominal pain and shortness of breath, are not widely known as COVID-19 symptoms, yet are hallmarks of the most severe forms of the disease, the data shows.

The six clusters are as follows:

  • 1 (‘flu-like’ with no fever): Headache, loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, no fever.
  • 2 (‘flu-like’ with fever): Headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, loss of appetite.
  • 3 (gastrointestinal): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, no cough.
  • 4 (severe level one, fatigue): Headache, loss of smell, cough, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, fatigue.
  • 5 (severe level two, confusion): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain.
  • 6 (severe level three, abdominal and respiratory): Headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

How should I respond to COVID-19 symptoms?

According to the NHS, you must self-isolate immediately if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus.

You should also get a test as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

According to the NHS, the test needs to be done in the first five days of having symptoms.

“You do not need to get a test if you have no symptoms or if you have different symptoms,” says the health body.

Other reasons to self-isolate include:

  • You’ve tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • You live with someone who has symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in your support bubble has symptoms or tested positive
  • You’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • You arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk.

Source: | Daily Express


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