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'Pretty close to measles': Professor's warning about new Covid variant in UK – symptoms

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The Omicron variant, now known as BA.1, caused a tidal wave of Covid cases in the UK at the end of last year. Hopes that the wave has now crested have been dashed thanks to the emergence of Omicron BA.2 – a sublineage of the original variant. This offshoot is driving up cases and leading to a rise in hospitalisation rates across the UK.

BA.2 is significantly more transmissible than BA.1, although it is still not clear whether it causes more severe disease.

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) epidemiologist, Professor Adrian Esterman, told ABC News: “Omicron BA.2 is about 1.4 times more infectious than BA.1. The basic reproduction number (R0) for BA.1 is about 8.2, making R0 for BA.2 about 12.

“This makes it pretty close to measles, the most contagious disease we know about.”

Speaking to The BMJ, Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at the Scripps Research Institute in California, said: “I would attribute this to the ‘BA.2 triad’. The variant has 30 percent more transmissibility than BA.1, but spread has been further enhanced by relaxed mitigation measures and waning of vaccine immunity. It’s all intertwined and clearly going to lead to more widespread surges, including in the US.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Antibody treatment effective against Omicron subvariants – symptoms

Professor Topol warned that this would now further prolong the pandemic and could even provide “yet another path to a new variant in the months ahead”.

Colin Angus, senior research fellow at the University of Sheffield’s school of health, also identifies BA.2 as the key factor.

He told The BMJ: “The recent rise in COVID-19 infections, which is being driven by the emergence of the more transmissible BA.2 variant of omicron, has led to increases in the number of people in hospitals in England with COVID-19 in all age groups and across all regions of the country.”

Be aware of the warning signs

Despite the rise in cases the UK government, which has already removed nearly all Covid related control measures, has also been slowly dismantling its pandemic systems and removing funding from key studies that track COVID-19, including REACT-1 (which tracks community transmission) and the ZOE covid study (which tracks symptoms).

This has raised serious concerns over the UK’s ability to respond to the virus.

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This potential oversight has prompted leading health experts such as Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London to urge the public to take matters into their own hands and act on the warning signs of Covid.

To ascertain the most common warning signs, the professor crunched the latest data published to the ZOE Covid Study, which pools information logged by users in the Zoe Symptom Tracker app and the results from the swab testing programme.

The most common symptom currently reported is runny nose, accounting for 80 percent of all symptomatic cases, reported Prof Spector in his latest YouTube video.

The professor said “rare” symptoms such as ear ringing and feeling unusual muscle pains are also being reported.

Commenting on the latest data, Prof Spector said: comments on the latest data: “Covid cases are now at the highest levels the ZOE Covid Study has ever recorded. Even more concerning is the rise in new cases in people aged over 75.

In the meantime, if you haven’t, you should roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated.

You can use the NHS booking service to book a first, second, third or booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or manage an appointment.

You can use this service if you’re registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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High cholesterol: Blood pressure drug linked to significant reduction in good cholesterol

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“Though they’re commonly used to treat different forms of heart disease, beta-blockers can significantly reduce HDL levels.”

Among the beta-blockers that cause this are Corgard (nadolol), Inderal (propranolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Zebeta (bisoprolol).

These drugs are widely used in the treatment of angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack and high blood pressure.

But despite concerns about their effect on cholesterol, scientists stress that the benefits of beta-blockers far outweigh the risks.

VeryWell Health adds: “If your beta-blocker affects your cholesterol significantly, your doctor may lower your dose or switch you to a different medication.”



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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez not on same page over Saudi Arabia GP after missile attack

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However, after a four-hour meeting between race officials and the teams, it was confirmed the race would go ahead despite the attack. It had been reported that a number of the competing drivers were concerned for their safety following the nearby explosion.

Despite this, an agreement was finally reached to race at 2:30am local time, after team chiefs left the lengthy meeting to confirm: “We will be racing.” A statement from Formula 1 confirmed Sunday’s race would go ahead as planned. It read: “Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today. The authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”

Unsurprisingly, there were a number of mixed views on whether the race should go ahead, and this is clearly apparent in the Red Bull setup. This comes after advisor Helmut Marko revealed that drivers Verstappen and Perez are not on the same page when it comes to racing.

JUST IN: F1 drivers ‘had concerns’ about Saudi Arabia GP as new details emerge after missile attack

On the issue, Marko told Sky Germany: “Max is a bit more relaxed about it. Perez is a little bit scared, but when you live in Mexico City there’s not much more security. We have the pandemic, we have the war in Europe and now we have a missile attack 20 kilometres away. This is no longer normal or pleasant.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s race though, the Austrian advisor is firmly on the side of Verstappen and the race officials, supporting the idea of the race taking place. He commented: “I really think it’s the right thing to do. As I said, these drone attacks are common, I think. They have a very good defence system. Why this one didn’t work remains to be seen. It’s not the first drone, after all. But it’s the first one to strike on such a scale.”

The attack took place during Friday’s first practice session, and it was Red Bull’s star man Verstappen who was one of the first to realise something was wrong after reporting on his team radio that he could ‘smell burning’. Initially, the Dutchman thought the smell was coming from either his or one of his rival’s cars, however it then became clear that an explosion had taken place just a few miles from the track.

Giving an insight into Verstappen’s initial worries, Marko said: “Max radioed us, he thought his car had caught fire because there was an intense burning smell. We were informed a drone had been sent from Yemen. The Saudis have a defence system and for some reason the drone was not intercepted.”



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