Omicron now accounts for staggering 90 per cent of London Covid cases

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Omicron now accounts for staggering 90 per cent of London Covid cases
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  • Gillian Keegan
    British politician (born 1968)

Omicron cases now account for a staggering 90 per cent of Covid infections in London, according to initial analysis.

The variant, which is believed to evade vaccines to some degree, has surged through the capital with unprecedented speed, compared to previous mutations.

Omicron is detected during testing, if it finds S-gene drop out, and it is now estimated to account for 89.7 per cent of cases in the city.

Health minister Gillian Keegan today said the Government had not “officially” received research from the UK Health Security Agency which reportedly is set to conclude that Omicron, while highly transmissable, leads to milder disease than the Delta variant in most people in Britain.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has previously urged people to wait for these studies rather than jumping to this conclusion from early reports in South Africa, partly given that it has a younger population which is less vulnerable to the virus.

Politico’s Playbook said the UKHSA real-world study, set to be published imminently, is due to say that people in the UK who are struck by Omicron are less likely to become severely ill than Delta sufferers.

This may be partly down to the fact that while Omicron may dodge vaccines to some extent, millions more people are now innoculated against the disease than when Delta hit, including more and more with booster jabs.

Omicron may also be milder in many cases, the report was expected to say.

However, the UKHSA research is also said to suggest that the variant is still virulent enough to cause large numbers of hospitalisations, especially if cases continue to spiral.

Playbook said it was also told that the health agency was expected to find that while two doses of a vaccine are not sufficient to offer strong protection, boosters significantly cut the chance of both symptomatic infection and hospitalisation.

Previous early UKHSA research suggested a “moderate to high” vaccine effectiveness of 70 to 75 per cent is seen in the early period after a booster dose.

Ms Keegan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that whether Omicron was milder than Delta was one of the “missing pieces of data that we have been waiting for”.

She added: “We ask for it every day.

“I’m looking forward to receiving it but we have not received that officially yet.”

The UKHSA declined to comment before the research is published.

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