Coronavirus cases in the UK increased after the government added odor and taste loss to the list of disease symptoms, a coronavirus symptom follower claims.
Covid Symptom Tracker saw the estimated total cases increase by 27,441 to 279,188 in the four days following the May 18 announcement.
The app also predicts a steady increase in infections in Britain after bottoming at 242,897 on May 11.
Designed by scientists at King’s College London and health science company ZOE, the app makes daily estimates of the number of UK coronavirus cases based on self-reporting of their own symptoms.
Users indicate whether they feel good and if not, what symptoms they suffer every day. The results are then analyzed to provide a UK-wide estimate.
In England alone, at least 9,900 new coronavirus infections occur every day, the app’s creators claim, with the highest rates in the Northwest and Midlands.
Leap: The predicted number of coronavirus cases in the UK soared after the government added taste and smell loss or anosmia to its list of symptoms
Declining: the number of infections in the UK has plummeted from 2.1 million to nearly 200,000 since the block was introduced, the app claimed
Stalled: However, the decline in the predicted number of infections has now leveled off
Research conducted by the app, designed by scientists at King’s College London and health science company ZOE, said there are 9,900 new infections every day
The daily number of cases reported by the app has risen gradually since May 11, the day after Boris Johnson announced a gradual easing of lock restrictions.
However, Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and an app analyzer, says the numbers are “not hugely significant in themselves.”
“At these very low levels, fluctuations are to be expected,” he said.
“It may also be that this slight increase is related to the growing awareness of loss of smell that occurred at the beginning of the week following the government’s announcement.”
The Covid app has consistently reported numbers above the official number of confirmed cases from the UK government, which currently numbers 254,195 British.
As many as 36,393 people died from the virus, an increase of 351 from yesterday.
The app records higher numbers than official government figures, as it includes people who are likely to have contracted the virus but have not received an official test.
According to the scientists at King’s College behind the app, the total number of cases has fallen ninefold since the beginning of April, from 2.1 million to 272,972 as of May 22.
But the scientists warn that these numbers may still be underestimated because it cannot detect asymptomatic cases and the sample may not be representative of the UK population.
Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London said he thought the grades themselves were not “hugely significant” due to low levels
The Covid Symptom Tracker works by taking people through a questionnaire about how they feel and whether they have the typical symptoms of coronavirus
How to use Covid-19 symptom tracker
More than 2.6 million people have signed up with the Covid-19 symptom follower to report if they are sick and what symptoms they are suffering from.
The app asks users to enter if they have had a coronavirus test and if they feel unwell on a daily basis.
The data is then used to map the distribution of the coronavirus in the UK and how the outbreak has changed during the lockdown.
The more people who submit information, the more accurate the data.
The app has been approved by NHS Scotland, NHS Wales and a number of medical colleges.
You can learn how to download the app here.
Government figures showed no increase in coronavirus cases after adding the new symptom, although a lack of testing means authorities may not know the current total in the country.
The team behind the app has also suggested that British cases rise by 9,900 every day, after analyzing data from 980,000 participants, including 18,000 who received a Pap smear between May 2 and May 15.
The northwest has the highest expected rate of infections with up to 412 new patients per million people per day, they said, followed by the Midlands with up to 310 new cases per million.
The Southwest was predicted as the area with the lowest spread at 172 cases per million, followed by London at 179 per million and the Southeast at 176 per million.
ZOE Global CEO Jonathan Wolf said, “These results are only possible because of the millions of people who generously register their health on a daily basis in the Covid Symptom Study app.
“By combining physical swab tests with daily digital health reports, we can now understand the daily new cases of infection. This used to be a mystery.
“We will update this regularly, which will provide vital information for the NHS and the government as we all try to ease our way out of the lockdown.”
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy medical chief of England, said officials hoped that adding anosmia to the list would help control the spread
What is anosmia?
Anosmia is the medical name for a condition in which someone suffers a complete or partial loss of smell and / or taste.
The most common single cause of the condition – temporary or permanent – are diseases that affect the nose or sinuses, such as polyps that grow in the airways, bone fractures or cartilage, hay fever, or tumors.
It is different from hyposmia, which is a reduced sensitivity to some or all of the scents.
About 3.5 million people in the UK are affected by the condition, along with nearly 10 million in the US. It is surprisingly common, affecting between three and five percent of people.
Head injuries and diseases of the nervous system such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s can also contribute to the condition by damaging nerves in the nose responsible for detecting odors.
The British government decided on May 18 to add a loss of taste and smell – also known as ansomia – to its list of symptoms of coronavirus after dragging over the designation for weeks.
The app called for this change, noting that there were up to 70,000 users reporting this symptom but not isolating themselves because of government instructions.
England’s deputy chief physician, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said officials hope that adding the symptom to the list of physicians will help identify three percent more patients.
“With a cough or fever, the sensitivity was about 91 percent,” he said in a telephone briefing.
“By adding anosmia, we think it could increase to 94 percent.
“The reason to make the change now is that there has been a signal for some time around the importance of anosmia as a symptom of COVID-19.
“It was important to keep looking at that and making sure we think about it and introduce it at the right time … this was quite a difficult piece of science.”