Today, there are the most positive tests found in one day since the pandemic began. The number of tests done has exceeded 1.3 million on each day and 78, 610 have been found positive. Prof Chris Witty said tonight that the situation was critical and in some parts of the country are already seeing a rise in hospital admissions. The mood at the Prime Ministerial Briefing tonight was much more sombre than they usually are.
The Omicron pandemic is now doubling in less than twenty-four hours. There were 4,671 new cases yesterday and 10,017 today. It is going to feel like having two pandemics at once. The Delta one is active but fairly static, whereas the Omicron variant is rampant. Remember the delay before the impact on hospitals is 2-3 weeks behind. This will follow over Christmas. The NHS will be at risk especially if there are also high staff sickness absence as well.
Every adult over the age of 18 can now have a booster three months after their second jab. This remains the safest and most effective way to protect yourself. We face a national crisis, so please get every booster jab done. If you have never had a jab, change your mind in the national interest, and book it right now.
Dr Jenny Harries said that Omicron posed the greatest threat yet. Prof Chris Whitty when asked about Christmas, suggested you review your plans and decide whether you really want to mix. He firmly advised that unless getting together really mattered to you, its better to postpone the gathering.
If you are gathering over Christmas prepare now by getting some lateral flow tests and do one in the morning of your gathering. Maximise the social distancing and improve the ventilation, meet outside on a walk if feasible. Masks should be worn by everyone unless actually eating or drinking. Work from home now if feasible until after Christmas.
Remember the fight back is well and truly on. There were 650,000 boosters done yesterday. The target is to get up to 1 million a day by the end of the year.
Although concentrating on the position in England, I do note other news. Italy has made it mandatory to have a test on arrival at their airports
It is also reported 8 MPs tested positive in the last 24 hours.
The new cases I have already highlighted are the highest number yet. The positivity rate has been climbing day on day and is now 522.2 per 100,000 of the population. The national hospital figures are fairly static still, but they will not be for much longer. There were 7,673 in a hospital bed yesterday and almost 900 were on a ventilator
The number of first vaccine doses given remains at below 90%. It rises by about 0.1 million every other day. Now its 89.3 %. We might just hit 90% by the New Year. 81.5% of second doses are given. The boosters are rising now, 43% of those eligible have their 3rd or booster jab. With over 4 million still needed we must all do our best to get them done. Only by getting them done are we going to minimise the numbers who become critically ill or die in the coming weeks.
I anticipate that 100,000 new cases per day will be reached in the next few days. I am not prone to exaggerating but this is grim news. We must cut down on our risks by reducing our social contacts. If you are working in an essential profession , all the more reason to reduce your contacts. You do not want to be in isolation at Christmas. We need our Health Service and other priority services like the police to be working normally. We can help keep them safe by staying safe ourselves.
I leave the final word with Prof Chris Whitty. “There are a lot of things we do not know about Omicron, all that we do know is bad!”
Do not mix unnecessarily, save it for those most important to you over Christmas. By Staying safe you will help keep others safe.