Covid: ‘Wave of Omicron’ to sweep Britain and cause ‘large number of deaths’, warns expert

Omicron: Sturgeon sends warning of ‘tsunami of infections'

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SAGE member Professor John Edmunds has warned that the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus is surging in the UK and could produce 60,000 new cases before Christmas.

 “We’re getting large numbers of cases and that will result in a large number of hospitalisations and, unfortunately, it will result in a large number of deaths, I’m pretty sure of that,” he told a Royal Society of Medicine briefing.

Omicron has been shown so far to spread far more rapidly than previous variants and has significant resistance against currently distributed vaccinations without the application of booster shots.

While the first cases of Omicron were identified on the 27th of November in the UK, Professor Edmunds said that genome sequencing suggested the variant had been in the UK since mid-October.

An analysis published by SAGE stated that if vaccination is unable to control Omicron, it will be difficult to control case numbers.

“If Omicron in the UK combines increased transmissibility and immune escape, irrespective of severity, it is highly likely that very stringent measures would be required to control growth and keep R below 1.

Delaying any wave of infections in such a scenario would allow more time for vaccines and therapeutics to be modified to combat omicron.”

The report speculates that the massive rise in cases from South Africa indicates the new variant has a large advantage over the previously dominant Delta variant.

The SAGE report noted that the Guateng province of South Africa saw a doubling of cases in the span of 3 days, with spill over into adjacent regions.

Many of these cases were reinfections, hitting people who had been previously infected or vaccinated.

The UK has seen an even faster expansion of cases, doubling between Wednesday and Thursday.

Hospital admissions have risen by 3.9 percent over the last week and deaths by 0.7 percent.

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