The number of Britons falling ill with Covid every day fell five per cent last week, according to one of the country's biggest surveillance projects.
King's College London scientists estimated 45,081 people caught the virus every day in the week to September 18, down from 47,276 in the previous seven-day spell.
Professor Tim Spector, who leads the study, warned that the UK still had one of the highest infection rates in Europe and called for the Covid symptoms list to be updated to help get a handle on infections.
He said the classic three symptoms — cough, fever and loss of taste and smell — were rarer these days thanks to vaccines which had made the virus more like a bad cold. He said other warning signs like a sore throat, runny nose and sneezing should be added to the list.
The symptom-tracking apps figures contradict those from the Government dashboard, which show Covid cases have risen week-on-week for the last five days in a delayed back-to-school wave.
The symptom study — also run by health data science company ZOE — was initially ahead of Government data because it spotted cases based on symptoms, without the need for time-consuming tests.
But experts say that it is now less reliable because the vaccines have blunted the symptoms sparked by a Covid infection, making it harder to spot. Almost nine in ten over-16s in Britain have got at least