An additional 633 cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been reported across the UK, bringing the total to 1,898.
Of these, 618 were found in England, 11 were recorded in Scotland and two were found in Wales and Northern Ireland.
This is the largest daily increase in confirmed cases of the new virus strain to date, after 448 new infections were recorded yesterday.
The latest update from the UK Health Security Agency comes after scientists advising the Government warned that Tougher restrictions may be needed to prevent the Omicron variant from causing 75,000 deaths in the UK in the next five months.
Experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) who also join the Scientific Group on Influenza Pandemic Modeling (SPI-M) or the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) , used experimental data to look at new ways stress could be transmitted as the country entered 2022, and predicted a major wave of infections in January.
Even under the most optimistic scenario, it could lead to a peak of more than 2,000 daily hospitalizations, with 175,000 hospitalizations and 24,700 deaths forecast between December 1 of this year and April 30. next year.
The most pessimistic scenario considered by the modelers – high immunity from vaccines and lower effectiveness of boosters – predicts a wave of infections that is likely to lead to a high peak in hospitalizations double the peak seen in January 2021, if no additional control measures are taken.
According to the study, this could cause 492,000 hospitalizations and 74,800 deaths.
Professor Paul Hunter, professor of medicine, University of East Anglia, says any model is ‘only as good as its assumptions’, adding that a key assumption in the model is degree the severity of disease outcomes for omicrons is the same as for Delta unvaccinated People.
He explained: ‘While we won’t know for sure for a few weeks, indications from South Africa suggest that Omicron does not cause less severe disease than Delta, although this may be due to partial immunity.
‘It is still early but the data have not been peer-reviewed to suggest that although the Omicron mutations are sufficient to escape the antibody, T-cell immunity is less likely to be compromised.
‘It is thought that T-cell immunity is more important for reducing the risk of severe illness than reducing milder nose and throat infections, therefore.
‘There is therefore still considerable uncertainty as to how much less severe Omicron will be in the UK context.’
Professor Hunter added: ‘As better data becomes available in the coming weeks, we can expect these models to be refined.’
Later on Sky News, Professor Hunter was asked how the current situation is a guessing game for the Government as experts are still verifying information about Omicron so close to Christmas.
He said: ‘Pretty true. Yeah absolutely. It was probably the hardest decision we’ve had in this entire pandemic in terms of the uncertainty of the outcome.
Professor Hunter added that although the team that did the modeling was ‘one of the best’ in the country, they were still working on assumptions that we don’t know are too soft or too harsh.
He said: ‘And until we get that data, we won’t really know for sure.’
Professor Hunter added: ‘There is a lot of uncertainty around the assumptions surrounding these models at the moment, especially how bad Omicron’s relationship will be with Delta.’
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https://metro.co.uk/2021/12/11/covid-633-new-omicron-cases-found-in-the-uk-in-biggest-daily-increase-15755968/ Covid: 633 new Omicron cases found in UK with biggest daily increase