The number of covid cases in Omicron London’s hotspot is now declining in people over 60. Official statistics are despite warnings about the possibility that the epidemic may have not reached its peak. 

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), statistics showing that infection rates in the area began to decline before Christmas gave hope that it was not the end.

The same dataset doesn’t reflect New Year’s Eve celebrations, but rates are still falling in the under-60s. The virus has not yet been detected in cases of the more-vulnerable over-60s.

Sir Chris Whitty, last night, said it was too soon to conclude that London’s crisis has peaked. He also noted that hospital pressures are likely to increase in the next few weeks. 

However, other experts expect the trend in over-60s to follow that of younger adults and begin falling in the next week or so, mirroring the trend in South Africa — the first country in the world to fall victim to the variant, where infections now appear to be in freefall.

MailOnline was informed by Professor David Livermore of the University of East Anglia. He said that the holiday period saw an increase in infection rates due to reporting delays and less testing.

He stated that the “rate at which the under-60s are falling” had reached its peak and was now convincingly declining.

‘This pattern of a short sharp peak is what you would expect from Omicron’s increased transmissibility [and]It also reflects the South African experience.

Professor Livermore stated that he expected a similar peak to drop-off, within a week, for the older 60s.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures show Covid cases in Omicron hotspot London are now only going up in people aged 60 and above

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) figures show confirmed infections have fallen week-on-week on seven of the eight days leading up to December 30 - the latest date regional data is available for - in people aged 59 or below

Figures from the UK Health Security Agency show that confirmed infections fell week-on-week in seven days up to December 30, according to UKHSA figures. This is the most recent date for which regional data are available.

Graph shows: Covid cases across the capital from the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Official testing data shows there was a drop in the run-up to Christmas

The graph shows the distribution of Covid cases in the Capital since March 2020, when the pandemic began. According to official testing, there was an increase in cases of covids during the Christmas period.

HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS: The number of patients being admitted to hospital with Covid dipped 7.22 per cent from 374 on December 26 to 347 on January 2, the latest date data is available for

HOSPITAL ADVISIONS: Hospital admissions with Covid fell 7.22 percent from 374 patients on December 26th to 347 on Jan 2, according to the most recent data. 

ADMISSIONS OVER THE LAST MONTH: Admissions were creeping up over December but appear to be plateauing from around December 28

ADMISSIONS FOR THE LAST MONTH. Admissions increased slightly over December, but seem to have plateaued around December 28.

HOSPITAL PATIENTS: The number of patients in hospital with Covid is still increasing, jumping 32 per cent to 3,993 yesterday

HOSPITAL PATIENTS: The number of patients in hospital with Covid is still increasing, jumping 32 per cent to 3,993 yesterday

PATIENTS ON MECHANICAL VENTILATOR BEDS: The number of patients requiring critical care has remained relatively stable since September, remaining unaffected by increased in admissions and cases caused by Omicron so far

MECHANICAL MECHANICALVENTILATOR BEDS: Patients requiring critical care have remained fairly stable since September. They are not affected by Omicron’s increased admissions or cases.

DEATHS: The number of people dying within 28 days of a positive Covid test is also remaining flat in the capital, rising nine per cent in a week from 21 to 23 on December 30

DEATHS: Deaths within the 28-day period of positive Covid tests are flat in capital. They have risen nine percent in one week, from 21 on December 30 to 23 on December 30,

Even NHS leaders back slashing self-isolation time to 5 days during staff crisis 

An NHS leader today revealed he would support slashing Covid self-isolation to five days amid an escalating staffing crisis that has engulfed hospitals and led some to cancel routine operations. 

Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation — an organisation which represents trusts, said two more days should be shaved off the period as long as it was backed up by the science.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today program, he stated that the current situation was “desperate” and that any means of getting employees back to work would be a “good thing.”

However, he stated that having infectious staff returning to wards would not be productive as this would only increase the spread Omicron.

Ministers cut self-isolation to seven days in December, provided someone tests negative with lateral flow days six through seven. Boris Johnson is being pressured to follow in the footsteps of the US which reduced quarantine from five to five days for those without symptoms. 

One-tenth of NHS workers are thought to be self-isolating or off sick at the moment. Boris Johnson, yesterday announced that plans have been made to call the Army in case the situation worsens. 

Because it didn’t have enough paramedics, one ambulance trust started asking stroke victims and patients suffering from life-threatening heart attacks to be taken to the hospital.  

Overall, cases in London  fell 10 per cent from 27,820 on December 23 to 25,038, the latest date data is available for.

Official data indicated that cases fell in the weeks leading up to Christmas. However, there was an occasional blip during the following days of festivities. The downward trend has since resumed.

And MailOnline yesterday revealed cases are now falling in two-thirds of London’s neighbourhoods. 

It prompted ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson — an influential No10 adviser whose grim death projections spooked ministers into adopting draconian restrictions back in spring 2020 — to say he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the capital’s cases were plateauing, and could fall nationally within as little as a week. 

The raw numbers of cases are not reliable because there are fewer tests being performed and the positive rate isn’t slowing down.

But, other figures reveal that London’s hospitalisation rate is already declining. 

Ministers believe they are closely monitoring admissions in London. 400 per day is the tipping point which requires national intervention. London was a key player in the Omicron fight and has been a beacon of light for the rest.

Recent data indicates that daily hospital admissions in capital are declining, with a drop of 7.22 percent from 374 on Dec 26 to 347 January 2. The latest data available shows this. These numbers were barely above 400 in four days.  

The number of patients with the virus in hospitals has risen to nearly 3993, a half of what was seen in the worst days of the second wave.

Critics argue that these figures are too high because they do not include those who tested positive for the condition. However, people could be admitted for other reasons such as a broken leg or an unrelated problem.

The occupancy of critical care beds has not increased in the same period, according to data probing whether the fight against Covid was significantly different from last year.

The numbers of patients using mechanical ventilators beds has risen by 13 percent yesterday to 245 compared with the highs of 1,200 and more last January.

However, there is concern that this may increase as cases in the over-60s are on the rise even though there are fewer cases currently being diagnosed.

December 22, London
December 29, London

Above map displays the Covid infections rates for London’s 1,000+ neighbourhoods during the week ending December 22nd (left) or 29th (right). The infection rate for areas with black paint is more than 1,600 per 100,000, and that of dark purple has 800 to 1,599. Areas coloured purple are infected at a rate of between 400-799.

This shows the percentage drop in Covid cases across 20 London MSOAs out of almost 1,000. Some 25 per cent of these areas saw their cases drop by more than a third

The percentage of Covid cases in 20 London MSOAs has dropped from almost 1000 to a mere 5%. These areas had cases that dropped by 25% or more in the last three months.

Data from the ZOE Covid Symptom study — pictured above — also suggests that Covid cases are falling in London. This relies on daily reports from almost a million Britons on whether they are unwell and if they have tested positive for Covid

Data from the ZOE Covid Symptom study — pictured above — also suggests that Covid cases are falling in London. The study relies on almost one million daily Covid symptom reports, which are compiled from Britons about their health and whether or not they tested positive.

Data shows that the number of Covid patients in intensive care is now half what it was 12 months ago. 

Intensive care admissions are half the levels of previous peaks – with Boris Johnson insisting this means he is ‘confident’ the NHS will not be overwhelmed. 

Omicron’s arrival in the UK has seen record numbers and increased admissions but the total number of intensive care patients remains flat. 

Only five percent of Covid-19 patients are currently on mechanical ventilations. This is compared to the 11% at the height of the pandemic in January. 

The Prime Minister said Omicron is ‘milder than previous variants’ and ‘keeps people in hospital for a shorter period’. 

He told a Downing Street press conference yesterday: ‘While hospital admissions are rising quickly, this is not yet thankfully translating into the same numbers needing intensive care that we saw in previous waves.’  

The capital’s hospitals are in crisis mode due to fears that up to 10% of staff may be absent sick. In order to deal with the staff absences, all non-urgent operations have been cancelled in this country. Boris Johnson announced last night plans to call for the army to help if things get worse.  

According to Government data, the rate of cases per 100,000 under-60s declined from 2,279 at its peak on December 21, to 1,842 by December 30,.

The rate of change in the 60-year-old population increased by 701 to 1,212 during the same time period. 

Every day after December 22, except Wednesday (under-60s), the cases decreased week-on-week. The biggest decline was on Christmas, when the numbers fell 57% on the preceding week.

These figures compare to the record-breaking week-on-week gains of over 200 percent in December when the mutant strain was introduced in the capital. 

While confirmed cases of infection are on the rise among over-60s, their growth has been steady since December 17th.

Cases rose by 191pc week-on–week at that time, but are only up by 40pc on December 27th. This suggests growth is slowing. 

It is impossible to determine the trending data as the latest week has not been available.

MailOnline spoke with Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia. He said that an epidemic will peak when there are no more people to spread it. 

“The problem is never when it will peak, but how high. Although infections are still increasing in the over 60s in London it does look like this is starting to slow already — but of course there is a problem with Christmas affecting reporting so we can’t be certain. 

The Christmas effect will disappear from recent data next week, says a spokesperson.

In the capital, death rates within 28 days after a positive Covid iso test are flat. They have risen nine percent in one week (21 to 23 December 30, 2018). 

Professor Livermore said: ‘A major point to highlight is that we’re now 21 days from when the rate in the over 60s took off on December 14 to 15. 

‘That’s longer than the typical period — around 19 days — between infection and death for those who are going to succumb. Yet there’s no significant uptick in deaths. 

It is believed that Omicron has less potential to cause serious disease or that the severity of Omicron’s effects can be reduced through widespread vaccination and pre-infection. I think we’re now at the beginning of the end.’