SHOCKING charts have revealed how Omicron is spreading across the UK after a further 4,671 cases of the variant were reported today.
That's up 90 per cent on Tuesday's 633 – with the UK's infection rate now being as high as it was at the start of the pandemic.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency today told MPsthat the Omicron variant is the biggest threat since the start of the pandemic.
She warned of a of a "staggering" number of cases in the next few days compared with what has gone before.
However, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said the figure was higher partly because the definition of an Omicron case had changed, and some cases from Tuesday had been added onto today's total.
The total Omicron cases in the UK stands at 10,017.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference this evening Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the 'wave of Omicron is rolling across the United Kingdom'.
He urged people to come forward for their booster jabs and the The Sun is also urging people to sign up for the Jabs Army campaign to help ensure the rollout goes smoothly and so that we can Give Britain a Booster.
A record 78,610 cases were recorded today in the UK, exceeding the previous high of 68,053 which was recorded on 8th January 2021
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Dr Harries said: “I’m sure for example, the numbers that we see on data over the next few days will be quite staggering compared to the rate of growth that we’ve seen in cases for previous variants.
“The difficulty is that the growth of this virus, it has a doubling time which is shortening – ie it’s doubling faster, growing faster.
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“In most regions in the UK it is now under two days. When it started we were estimating about four or five.”
Explaining the shocking graphics, chief medical officer Chris Whitty said: "Numbers are going up fast and the grey bars shown on the graph is incomplete data and will increase.
"the last bits of data always increase when new data comes in and the percentage of cases is still steadily increasing."
He said that Omicron is being built on top of Delta and that this increase in cases is happening across the country.
"In London the majority of cases are Omicron and by time we get to Christmas most cases in hospital cases will be Omicron", he added.
Omicron is now thought to be the dominant strain in the capital.
Analysis showed that 51.8 per cent of a sample of new coronavirus cases in London with specimen dates for December 11 and 12 were found to have S gene target failure (SGTF) – a way of detecting the likely presence of Omicron.
This difference – a deletion in the S gene – shows up in certain laboratory PCR tests and can be used as way of estimating the spread of Omicron.
Of the 1,391 Covid-19 cases in London recorded on December 11 and 12 where the S gene status could be determined, 721 were classed as SGTF, figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) revealed.
The figures also show that 26.9 per cent of a sample of detectable cases in eastern England from December 11 and 12 were classed as SGTF, along with 25.4 per cent in south-east England and 20.8% in north-west England.
Levels were lower in all other regions, with north-east England having the lowest estimate of 6.2 per cent.
The level for the whole of England was estimated at 24.0 per cent.
The boosters jabs are the UK’s main defence against Omicron.
WIth three doses, a person is estimated to get 75 per cent protection against infection with symptoms, and likely more against severe disease.
It’s less than against Delta (in the high 90s), and two doses are not considered strong enough to avoid catching the strain.
The NHS booking portal opened this morning for everyone 18 and over to book a jab appointment and you can also go to walk-in centres.
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