The UK recorded more than 100,000 Covid cases in a single day for the first time ever last week, new data shows after the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

A total of 102,297 people tested positive for the virus last Wednesday, according to backdated Government figures — marking the first time they have risen above triple digits officially since the start of the pandemic.

Figure 1.1 shows the positive cases by the’specimen day’. This is different to daily reported cases, which look at the time someone got their results. 

For the complete counting of all positive Covid cases, it can take as long as five days.    

The actual numbers of cases are far below what the Government models project. They predict that there could be as many as 400,000 new infections each day by winter’s peak.

Boris Johnson’s doubts over No10 scientific projections have been blamed for the Christmas lockdown. Ministers still await more information. 

On Friday, the Department of Health revealed 93 045 new Covid cases. The virus has not been detected in any cases for four days. A record 1.5 million Britons have been tested daily, suggesting that the problem isn’t a lack thereof. 

MailOnline discovered that quarter of London’s Covid hospitalizations for virus-related reasons in its analysis of hospital data. This was twice the number of Omicron variants in Britain that were detected during the previous week.

London is now a hub for ultra-infectious strains. Daily admissions to London hospitals have increased by 200% in three weeks. This raises concerns about a rise in national hospital pressure.

But NHS England figures show that 332 out of 1,349 admissions in London in the week up to December 18 were only picked up after the patients had arrived in hospital (25 per cent) for another ailment.

This figure was twice that of Omicron’s first Omicron case, November 27, where only 72 cases (6 percent) were Omicron cases. 

In the capital, ICU rates have not changed in three weeks. They are currently at 200. But, it takes longer for an infection to be treated and admitted to intensive care.

MailOnline was told by experts that it was crucial to differentiate between admissions for Covid and those for other reasons so ministers don’t become more restricted or scared off the general public. 

South African doctors insist for weeks Omicron is more mild than it was when they raised the alarm on November 24. It is still not clear if Omicron is more mild than it should be or whether South Africa has benefited from a high level of natural immunity since being ravaged by Delta months back.

New analysis has shown that about one-fourth of the UK’s local authorities are reporting their highest number of Covid cases in recent years, since mass testing started in summer 2020.

Two-thirds are in London. Nearly half of those in East England, South East England and East England fall within this category. The rest of the country is still far behind, but only the west and north have seen record rates.  

The above graph shows Covid cases recorded in the UK by specimen date, which is the date that a test was carried out. It reveals 100,000 people who took swabs last Wednesday tested positive for the virus

Below is a graph showing Covid cases that were recorded in the UK according to specimen date. This refers to the date that the test was conducted. The graph shows that 100,000 people tested positive for Covid after taking swabs on Wednesday.

Graph shows London's daily Covid cases by date reported. It reveals they initially shot up when Omicron first emerged, but may now be stabalising despite predictions that infections are doubling every two to three days

Graph displays London’s daily Covid case count by reported date. This graph shows that they were first high after Omicron’s appearance, but are now stable despite the fact that their numbers have been increasing by a third every day.

Raghib Ali from Cambridge University, clinical epidemiologist said that if Omicron is very prevalent in the area, then it’s more likely anyone coming to hospital with any reason (even broken legs) will have Covid.

“It is a feature of Omicron being in this community. It’s important to differentiate between admissions intended primarily for Covid from those not. 

‘It’s not only helpful but in many ways essential to know the primary diagnosis and to know how many daily admissions there are for every condition — that would give us an indication of the true pressure on the NHS.’

Ministers and Boris lock down on the knife edge as they brace for critical Omicron data 

Boris Johnson struggles to control infighting between ministers and scientists as today’s government prepares for additional Omicron evidence, after delaying imposing any extra Covid curbs prior to Christmas.

After declaring at last there would be no restrictions, the PM monitors data “hour by hour” despite huge pressure from experts warning that the NHS may become overwhelmed by this mutant strain.

Johnson said the decision was balanced. However, it is possible that the government might still be required to intervene before the New Years by putting in a “circuit breaker” if there are new vital evidence or signs of deterioration. The report includes an Imperial College team’s assessment on Omicron’s severity.

It now seems too late to put in legal restrictions prior to December 25. The premier has already promised to allow restive MPs to have a say.

After a lengthy and bitter Cabinet meeting in which ministers, including Rishi Sunak, demanded solid evidence on Omicron’s threat before agreeing to further actions, the holding line was reached.

SAGE modelers’ claim that death rates could rise to 6,000 per day under the worst case scenario has drawn heavy criticism. However, daily cases are on the rise and reached 100,000 December 15.

The leading statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter also noted that approximately half of all new Covid admissions to Omicron Hotspot London were positive for Covid after they arrived at the hospital. This could be due to a different condition, but he said it would not affect pressures on the NHS.

According to official statistics, Covid was included on 764 Death Certificates in England and Wales for the week of December 10, a decrease in 4 percentage points from the previous week but the highest level since October.

Jacob Rees Mogg was the Commons Leader and is reported to have called on the government not to bring back harsh laws but to “trust people” to deal with the outbreak.

Johnson was said to have warned that an explanation would not work if there is a serious threat of the NHS being overwhelmed, but ultimately he listened to the majority views among his colleagues. 


The number of Covid patients currently in the Capital is 1,819, up 66% from a fortnight back when there were 1,102 cases.

Although hospitalisations and deaths rates remain high in the country, it may take up to three weeks for them to start trending upwards. 

London’s daily average of Covid cases per day has gone up by over 150 percent in just seven days. This is due to rapid expansion of Omicron.

Capital recorded 217,000 infections per day yesterday, as compared with just 8,715 last week.

However, there are early indications that infection rates are slowing even though they double every 2 to 3 days. 

Yesterday’s infection count was 22,750, slightly higher than the previous day but still below the 26,0000 highs set this weekend.

The capital has the highest rate of infection (2,104 infections per 100,000 residents), followed closely by Wandsworth (2 024) and Southwark (1 802). 

Harrow (826.7) is at the opposite end of the spectrum, followed by Hounslow (8848.5), and Redbridge (9921.6).

For hospitalisations, breaking the data down by day showed on December 13 that four in ten Covid patients admitted to wards had tested positive for the virus after entering hospitals. 

Comparatively, around 18% of Covid patients in England tested positive for Covid following admission in the most recent week. This was 14% at the beginning of the month.

Nationally, data shows 930 out of 5,441 patients — or 20 per cent — admitted to Covid wards had first come to hospital for a separate reason over the week to December 18, the latest available. It was 15 percent, at 605 patients out of 4651 patients a fortnight back.

MailOnline spoke with Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter at Cambridge University. He said that there was an increase in people admitted to hospital for Covid. This is presumably because they have the Omicron version.

“This might be expected with a rapid-spreading variety in which many do not have symptoms. 

“But, it also means that hospitals have to bear an additional burden in treating infected patients.”

According to data from the Government, 94,551 infections occurred on December 14. 

With 91,312, December 16 already occupies third place. This is even before the data has been fully processed.

The only day in top five of the most Covid cases in the UK that has not occurred in the past few weeks is December 29 2020, when 81,481 cases were recorded.

Many parts of the UK were restricted in terms of what shops they could open, and how many households could be accommodated indoors.

However, this is not nearly as severe as the Government modeling suggests. This has led to anger from MPs and experts over the reliability the data.

Yesterday saw a row about modelling, which appeared to have raised the possibility of Christmas being “cancelled” for another year.

In forecasts leaked over the weekend, the SAGE expert committee warned that without rapid action daily deaths could hit 6,000 in the worst case — and hospital admissions 10,000.

However, experts, politicians, and ministers rejected Omicron’s ‘implausible predictions’ because there was so much uncertainty.

Iain Duncan Smith was the Tory ex-leader and referred SAGE modeller Graham Medley to as ‘Graham Meddler’ in a BBC Radio 4 interview. It was unclear if that was just a slip of tongue.

Duncan Smith, who criticised blood-curdling claims of as many as 6,000 deaths per day without adding restrictions, said that government shouldn’t make a decision on lockdown based solely on an ‘wider variety of information’.

“We must understand that the effects of lockdown are dramatic in so many areas of people’s lives. This equates with people having to go into hospitals,” he stated. 

South Africa appears to have a flattening Omicron wave about a month following the Omicron variant’s first case sending. 

According to data from the National Institute For Communicable Disorders (NICD), only 8,515 people were positive for Omicron yesterday, a drop of 13992 from Monday. This is the largest drop in Omicron cases since it struck the country.

Another sign that the wave is slowing down, yesterday saw a drop in hospitalisations of 5% with only 323 patients admitted. They fell for the second straight day after dropping 53% yesterday.

However, the numbers could be due to an increase in testing: 28,000 were performed yesterday and 45,000 the week before.

Although the rate of test positives has slightly declined over last week, it suggests that this outbreak may have been waning. 

This is because about one-fourth of England’s local authorities are reporting their highest Covid infection rate since the mass testing were implemented in spring 2020.

These areas comprise two-thirds (or more) of the authorities in London and almost half of those in east England.

The rest of the country is still far from record, but only the west and north have seen rates rise to an all-time high.

Remarkable rates are being seen in the South East with 47 of 64 authorities reporting record levels. The highest numbers were recorded at Elmbridge (1384.7), Reigate (1317.3), Epsom (!,271.6) and Banstead (1.317.3).

21 of 45 East of England local authorities now have the highest recorded rates. In contrast, 12 of 40 East Midlands areas are seeing infections surpass previous records.