England’s Covid epidemic has started to increase again, with approximately one in sixty people infected last week. Official statistics indicate that this is a result of the Omicron variant.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Covid infection survey — based on random swabs of 100,000 people — estimates around 936,000 had the virus on any given day in the week ending December 11.

The virus was reported to be up five percent from the week before, with 891,500 people being infected daily. However, the trend is still ‘uncertain,’ statisticians stated.

This is because infections have declined in recent weeks, and the super mutant variant of the virus has begun to spread fast across the country.  

Experts believe the ONS survey provides the most accurate picture of the current pandemic. With real cases exceeding UK testing capacities in coming weeks, and records already being broken twice this week, the ONS survey is the best.

Some 88,736 cases were recorded across the UK yesterday — the highest number ever — with infections believed to be doubling nationally every two days.

Professor Chris Whitty said that the ultra-infectious version of the virus would break a lot of records. This has put the UK in a lockdown, with Brits worried about the possibility of contracting the virus before Christmas. 

England’s chief physician told parliamentarians at the Health and Social Care Select Committee Omicron was spreading quickly and could result in daily hospital admissions exceeding the old high of 4,500. 

According to models from the UK Health Security Agency, (UKHSA), Covid infections are now at an alarming rate of over 400,000. 

England's Covid outbreak started to rise again with around one in 60 people having the virus last week, official statistics show in a sign of the 'early impact of the Omicron variant'

England’s Covid virus outbreak has begun to rise with one in sixty having it last week. This is an indication of the Omicron-type variant’s ‘early effect’

The ONS data show infections increased in children aged two years old to school Year 6, with 5.6 per cent testing positive last week, up from 4.9 per cent the week before

Data from the ONS show that infections are increasing in children between two and six years of age. Last week, 5.6 percent tested positive for infection, up from 4.9% last week.

Infections increased in Omicron hotspot London — from XXX per cent to XXX per cent — and the East of England

Infections increased in Omicron hotspot London — from XXX per cent to XXX per cent — and the East of England

Omicron is branded by the G7 as the ‘biggest danger to global public healthcare’ 

G7 ministers labelled the Omicron variant the “biggest threat to global health” last night as UK daily Covid cases soared to a new record.

Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, said that the health emergency meeting which he presided over had identified the danger posed by the highly transmissible virus to the entire world. He stated that countries are now united in increasing vaccinations both at home and overseas.

Yesterday, more than 88,000 people were confirmed to have contracted Covid. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told MPs that the highly infectious variant will’records be broken many times’. The number of cases is increasing by more than 2% every day and the spread rate exceeds what testing can detect.

Meanwhile Wales announced that nightclubs will close and social distancing will be enforced in offices after Christmas in a bid to tackle the new variant.

Two-metre social separation will be mandatory for shops and businesses starting December 27. Other measures include one-way systems, physical barriers and other safeguards to ensure the safety of customers and employees.

Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Canada, stated that regulations would also be modified to require employees to work remotely whenever possible.

Javid tweeted: “Chaired an important Meeting with My G7 Companion Today to Share Information About the Omicron Variant. 

“We all agree that global public health is at risk and have agreed to increase vaccinations both here and overseas.

The ONS data show infections increased in children aged two years old to school Year 6, with 5.6 per cent testing positive last week, up from 4.9 per cent the week before. 

The rates also rose slightly among 35-to-49-year-olds (from 2.2 percent to 2.6%).

For those between the ages of 50 and 69 and students in Year 7, 11, and for those over 70, there was a decrease in test results. The trend is ‘uncertain’ for all other age groups. 

Infections increased in Omicron hotspot London — from 1.9 per cent to 2.1 per cent — and the East of England  — from 1.6 per cent to 1.9 per cent.

They fell in The North East and Yorkshire, The Humber. However they remained stable in all the other regions.

Sarah Crofts is the head of analysis outputs at Covid-19 Infection Study. She stated that today’s data shows an unsteady trend in infection rates across England, Wales, and Scotland. Northern Ireland has seen a decrease in infection rates.

“Although we still see the Delta variant as the most prevalent in the UK, our data is beginning to show the Omicron variant’s early impacts. 

“Cases compatible to this variant have increased both in England and Scotland. Early signs indicate an increase for Wales.

“We will continue monitoring this variant closely, and that is possible only through the ongoing involvement of our members.”

Experts believe that the ONS statistics offer the most accurate information on the situation in Britain’s pandemic. However, official Government data is limited by the testing capabilities of British Government and biases by people who come forward to take swabs.

Kevin McConway is an emeritus professor at The Open University of applied statistics. He stated that CIS results will become more important due to the Omicron variant’s rapid growth. 

You might wonder why these are necessary, considering the continuous monitoring of all confirmed Covid cases. This information is also available on the Government dashboard. 

‘But the snag with most of those numbers is that they are based on the results of PCR and lateral flow device (LFD) tests carried out within the standard testing programmes that we’re all encouraged to use. 

“So, to an extent, they are affected by the person who has chosen to have their blood tested.”

He added: “This is where the CIS steps in. It doesn’t test people because they have symptoms, or because they have decided to get tested for whatever reason. 

It tests the health of a sample of UK residents to determine the extent of pandemic progress. 

‘So it isn’t affected by biases arising from the number and type of people who choose to be tested in the standard testing programmes.’

The UK Health Security Agency's estimated doubling times for Omicron in every region of England. The variant is believed to be doubling every one-and-a-half days in London

According to the UK Health Security Agency, Omicron is estimated to have doubled in all regions of England. This variant could be doubled every one-and a-half day in London.

McConway stated that if the Omicron wave case numbers are as large as predicted, it will provide another reason to support the CIS’s importance. 

“So far, although the number of confirmed cases is alarmingly increasing, they have remained within the limits of existing standard testing programmes. 

“That’s because we can detect enough cases and keep track of a large number. 

‘But if cases increase a great deal more, there just won’t be the available testing capacity to detect enough of them, so that it’s possible that the daily confirmed case numbers can no longer measure the pandemic accurately. That won’t happen to the CIS.’