A STAGGERING 6.6 million Brits may already have coronavirus, according to an app monitoring symptoms of people with suspected Covid-19.
Researchers from King's College London, who launched the Covid Symptom Tracker, say ten per cent of the 650,000 people who signed up to the app in the first 24 hours showed signs of the virus.
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And if their statistic of one in every ten people is applied to the UK's population of 66million, it would mean that around 6.6 million people in the UK are currently suffering from coronavirus.
It comes as the number of cases of coronavirus in the UK last night rose to 9,529 – with the death toll now standing at 465.
King's College London launched the Covid Symptom Tracker earlier this week – claiming it was "clinically urgent" to understand how many people are infected after the Government stopped testing in the community in the first week of March.
Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology a King's, normally analyses the genetic factors behind disease with a group of 15,000 twins.
However, when coronavirus put a stop to the work, he realised that the group could help scientists understand whether DNA was playing a part in who was getting Covid-19.
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He and his team developed an app so that they could track any symptoms of the virus while the twins were in lockdown, and realised it could also be rolled out to the whole of Britain.
Prof Spector said that at the moment "there is no alternative system" and that the app could help the NHS in working out if some of the symptoms are real or not.
Prof Spector said he was also amazed at the response and expected more than one million people to have registered by this morning.
People are asked to check in daily and report symptoms so the progression of the virus can also be monitored.
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He told The Telegraph: "Our first analysis showed we're picking up roughly that one in ten have the classical symptoms.
"So of the 650,000, we expect to see 65,000 cases…
"What we're seeing is a lot of mild symptoms, so I think having this data should help people relax a bit more and stop seeing it as an all or nothing Black Death situation."
Prof Spector also revealed as well as the two typical signs of coronavirus of a fever and a new, continuous cough, lots of other symptoms are cropping up.
In particular, thousands of people are coming forward to say they have loss of taste.
As well as the population data, the app will help scientists discover what makes people more vulnerable to the deadly bug as it inquires about underlying conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Prof Spector said some of the risk will be due to smoking, being overweight and other factors.
The app is expected to be rolled out in the US in the next 48 hours.
Public Health England (PHE) yesterday revealed that antibody tests which tell people if they have had the virus and are now immune, will soon be available to the public from Amazon and Boots.
Following this, Prof Spector and his team are planning to update the app so people can input their results.
Currently, Public Health England is only testing patients for Covid-19 in hospital with nasal swabs.
This test only shows whether someone has the virus and not whether they have already recovered from it.
However, the new at-home test would reveal if someone has had the bug and built up immunity, and is therefore unlikely to catch it again.
The chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, explained the government would prioritise key workers – such as NHS staff – for the new antibody test.
Also during last night's briefing, Boris Johnson said the government was "massively ramping up" testing for coronavirus as he announced that 405,000 people have now signed up as volunteers to help vulnerable people.
He said it was hoped that "very soon" 250,000 tests would be carried out each day.
Speaking at the daily press conference inside Number 10, he added that he wanted to offer a "special thank you" to everyone who has now volunteered to help the NHS.
You can find out more about the Covid-19 Symptom Tracker and download it here.
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