An increase in Covid cases and the rise in hospitalization has raised alarm and the chief medical officer of England is warning that new records will be established in the coming weeks.
Recent data show that an increase in verified Omicron cases has increased by over 2,000% within a week.
Prof Chris Whitty has warned the Omicron strain was spreading at a very fast rate, with hospitalisations increasing and the fear of tougher restrictions as we head towards Christmas
An anxious Professor Chris Whitty said the Omicron virus was growing at an “phenomenal” pace, and added: “All the things we do know are harmful.”
As of now, the UK Health Security Agency has confirmed 10,017 cases of this mutation, an increase from 437 just a week earlier.
The two cases that were first reported were revealed on the 27th of November and at least one person was who died being diagnosed with the disease.
However, experts believe that the actual Omicron amount is much greater as health secretary Sajid Javid earlier saying it was 100,000 each day.
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The UK is currently suffering from “two epidemics” according to Prof Whitty stated, with the incidence from Delta mutant strains being flat. Delta mutant strain becoming flat however Omicron increasing each day.
On Wednesday, 78.610 daily infections were reported from Health officials from the Department of Health, the most severe pandemic to date.
Prof Whitty said: “This is a record number of cases, we’ve got to be realistic that records will be broken a lot over the next few weeks as rates go up.”
How many Covid cases are being recorded, and how many are Omicron?
In the past week 404,869 people have tested positive for Covid-19 – an alarming 19.1 per cent higher than the previous week, Department of Health figures show.
This is undoubtedly being fuelled by the new variant, with Omicron now estimated to be the dominant strain in London.
So far there have been 10,017 fully confirmed cases of the mutant strain, with 4,671 announced by the UK Health Security Agency yesterday.
But full genomic testing is a slow process, with a quick test – known as the S Gene Failure – revealing numbers are rising steeply in all regions, Prof Whitty said.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told the House of Commons on Monday that the real number of Omicron infections could be as high as 200,000 a day.
Where are the Omicron hotspots?
London is currently bearing the brunt of the Omicron outbreak, with 1,628 cases confirmed yesterday alone.
But all regions recorded a significant rise in confirmed infections in 24 hours, figures from the UK Health Security Agency show.
South East England and the East Midlands have each had more than 1,000 infections identified, with the real number expected to be dramatically higher.
According to the agency, the number of confirmed cases in each region is:
- East Midlands -1,033 cases (up 550 in 24 hours)
- East of England – 919 cases (up 340 in 24 hours)
- London – 3,714 cases (up 1,628 in 24 hours)
- North East – 261 cases (up 159 in 24 hours)
- North West – 365 cases (up 97 in 24 hours)
- South East – 2,032 cases (up 958 in 24 hours)
- South West – 627 cases (up 375 in 24 hours)
- West Midlands – 152 cases (up 67 in 24 hours)
- Yorkshire and Humber – 110 cases (up 52 in 24 hours)
The vast majority of confirmed Omicron cases up to this point are in England, latest data shows.
England has seen 9,243 known cases, Scotland 561, Wales 62 and Northern Ireland 151.
As highlighted above though, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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It is not unsurprising that the five UK areas to see the highest rise in Covid cases are in London.
As reported last night, the places to have seen the sharpest increase are:
- Southwark (up from 463.1 cases per 100,000 people to 818.4)
- Lambeth (495.0 to 828.7)
- Hackney & City of London (405.0 to 733.5)
- Islington (405.5 to 720.6)
- Lewisham (497.2 to 767.7)
Last night Prof Whitty showed slides revealing ‘S Gene Failure’ cases, which he described as a faster means of identifying Omicron.
Data showed that cases are on the rise in all regions in England, while the top medic said the same is true in Scotland.
What is happening with hospitalizations?
Worryingly admissions are on their way up, Department of Health figures show.
On Tuesday 774 people were admitted to hospitals across the UK with Covid-19, bringing the seven-day figure to 5,984.
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This is a 10.4 per cent rise compared to the week before.
On Tuesday there were 7,673 people being treated for the virus in hospital, of which 896 were in ventilator beds.
Prof Whitty said that hospitalisations are rising in some parts of the country, particularly in London – where Omicron is believed to have become the dominant strain.
“Going into Christmas I would expect most cases going into hospital to be Omicron,” said Prof Whitty.