Omicron: Covid cases explode in London


ondon has been hit with 140,000 confirmed Covid cases in a week after they exploded by up to 500 per cent among young adults and also increased among pensioners, an Evening Standard analysis reveals.

Health chiefs are pleading with people who are yet to have any Covid innoculations to get their jabs and stress the majority of patients with coronavirus in the city’s hospitals are not fully vaccinated.

Hundreds of thousands more Londoners had booster jabs in the last week in a race to get the capital better protected against the Omicron variant and stop its hospitals being overwhelmed.

  • There were 140,942 confirmed Covid cases announced for London in the week to December 19, more than three times as many as the 42,455 in the first week of this month, as Omicron has surged through the city. The real number of infections is estimated to be significantly higher.
  • A total of 21,594 new infections were announced on Sunday, down on the previous three days, which may raise hopes that Londoners being more cautious are stopping the rise, though figures at weekend are sometimes lower.
  • The seven-day infection rate for Londoners aged 25 to 29 has soared by 501 per cent in the week to December 14 to 2,302 confirmed cases per 100,000 in this age group, compared to 383 in the week to December 1.
  • The seven-day rate jumped 455 per cent for Londoners aged 20-24 in this period to 1,846.
  • For those aged 30 to 34, it has spiralled 321 per cent to 1,760.
  • For London as a whole, the seven-day rate was 1,065 per 100,000 in the week to December 14.
  • Of more concern, the rate is also now rising among older people in the capital who are more likely to get seriously ill from Covid, though vaccines are believed to significantly reduce the likelihood of this from all variants
  • The seven-day rate among Londoners aged 74-79 has risen 174 per cent, compared to December 1, from a low base of 59.6 confirmed cases per 100,000 in this age group to 163.4.
  • For the 70 to 74-year-old age group it has gone up 129 per cent to 184.7, and for the 65 to 69-year-olds by 106 per cent to 255.2.


Louise Bishop, consultant in health protection at the UK Health Security Agency London, said: “We are currently seeing extremely high numbers of Covid on a daily basis in London and some of the highest case rates since last January.

“We are constantly monitoring the data to assess the impact that this Omicron wave is having on particular demographics and although we continue to see high and climbing rates in the working-age adult population, we are now seeing a concerning increase in the over-60s.”

She added: “It is too early to say if rising case rates in the older age-groups will translate into increased hospital admissions, as not enough is yet known about the clinical characteristics of Omicron.

“However, we do know that vaccines are our best defence and our data shows that getting the booster vaccine is more effective against this variant than two doses alone.

“Only a third of eligible Londoners have had their booster so far compared to almost half for England, so we urge Londoners to come forward and get boosted as soon as possible, to keep each other safe and ensure they have the best protection for Christmas.”

The figures also showed the smallest rises in the seven-day rate have been in children aged five to 14, of 17 per cent or less, though they are still at a high rate of 1,152 for ten to 14-year-olds, and 890 for five to nine-year-olds.

The increase for 15 to 19-year-olds was 106 per cent to 1,128.

There were also high rates for 35 to 39-year-olds, up 191 per cent to 1,296, and 40 to 44-year-olds, up 99 per cent to 1,210.

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