Record Increase in COVID Cases in UK; London Swept by Omicron

christmas in london

The UK reported 122,186 COVID-19 cases on Friday, with new estimates suggesting vast swathes of London’s population are infected, underscoring the relentless advance of the Omicron variant.

Over the last seven days, cases of Omicron have greatly increased, especially in the capital, London.

Models from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed on Friday that 1 in 20 Londoners likely had COVID-19 on Dec. 16, and early estimates suggest this number may have risen to 1 in 10 on Sunday.

As sick workers self-isolate, many industries and transportation networks are suffering from staff shortages, and hospitals in Britain have issued a warning concerning the possible impact on patient safety.

While Boris Johnson has invested considerable political capital in the Christmas of 2021 being “considerably better” than the previous year, he ruled out new restrictions before the holiday even begins, saying there were uncertainties regarding the severity of Omicron.

According to government data, 122,186 new cases were reported, up from 119,789 on Thursday, marking the third consecutive day with more than 100,000 new cases.

Health officials have maintained a cautious outlook on Omicron despite recent research suggesting a lower rate of hospitalisation than previous COVID-19 variants. “There is a glimmer of Christmas hope… but it definitely isn’t yet at the point where we could downgrade that serious threat,” Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, told the BBC.

There were 137 new deaths within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test on Friday, down from 147 on Thursday, and the total number of deaths during the pandemic has risen to 147,857, the highest number in Europe.

On Dec. 19, the ONS reported that infections rose across all areas of the United Kingdom, with Scotland having the lowest rate at 1 in 65 people. According to the ONS, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 35 people in England – 1.54 million people – acquired COVID-19 during the six days prior to Dec. 19.

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