A week ago there were 50,867 infections confirmed by the Department of Health, while on this day last year the number was 25,161 – although the number of deaths announced on that day was far higher
An alarming 88,376 people have tested positive for Covid in 24 hours – the highest figure of the pandemic so far and a 73.7 per cent increase in just a week.
Department of Health figures show a further 146 lives have been lost to the virus as the country is hit by the “tidal wave of Omicron” which Boris Johnson warned of at the weekend.
It comes after a record-breaking 78,610 cases were confirmed yesterday – up from 50,867 last Thursday and 53,945 a fortnight ago.
It means more than 442,000 infections have been confirmed in the past seven days, up 31.4 per cent on the previous week.
Hospitalisations have also gone up, but the number of deaths has dropped slightly, today’s bulletin reveals.
A total of 803 people have died within 28 days of contracting the virus in the past week, 51 lower than the previous week’s total, with the official Covid death toll now standing at 146,937.
On this day last year, there were 25,161 cases – although the number of deaths announced on that day was far higher than the latest update, with 612 lives lost.
Yesterday 849 people were admitted to UK hospitals with Covid-19, while the week-on-week admissions figure has gone up by 8.6 per cent.
Yesterday England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned that new records would be set in coming days as the Omicron variant ripped through the country.
He told a Downing Street press conference last night: “I am afraid we have to be realistic that records will be broken a lot as rates continue to increase in the next few weeks.”
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Prof Whitty said that the full impact of Omicron would be apparent in weeks to come, but painted a bleak picture.
“There are lots of things we don’t know, but all the things we do know are bad,” he said.
“There will be substantial numbers (in hospital), that will become apparent after Christmas… that is a reasonably nailed on prospect.”
The first two cases of Omicron were identified in the UK on November 27.
At the weekend the Prime Minister warned that a “tidal wave of Omicron” was headed for the UK, with latest data making it clear that two jabs was not enough to protect people.
Yesterday he urged Brits to support the huge national booster campaign, having said that all adults would be offered a booster jab by Christmas.
The chief medical officer said that Omicron cases were rising in all regions of England.
Latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency state that 10,017 Omicrons have been confirmed through genomic sequencing, but the real number is undoubtedly higher.
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.
Figures released earlier today show that Covid-19 case rates for London and eastern England have risen to their highest level since early January.
A total of 702.8 new cases per 100,000 people were recorded in London in the week to December 12.
This is up sharply from 475.8 the previous week and is the highest rate for the capital since the week to January 10.
The rise has been driven by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, with some boroughs in London currently experiencing the steepest jump in rates of any local authorities in the UK.
Omicron has already become the dominant variant of the virus in the capital, but is now having an impact in other parts of the country.
Eastern England’s rate stands at 616.5 cases per 100,000, up week-on-week from 563.2 and the highest since the week to January 10.
North-west England has recorded a small week-on-week rise, up from 412.2 to 430.0.
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