An Omicron Covid-19 variant risk was exaggerated by a senior British health advisor.

It is understood that Dr Jenny Harries was the source behind Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s contested claim that there is typically a 17-day lag between infection and possible hospitalisation when someone is infected with Omicron.

Other experts disagree with this assertion, pointing out data from the Office for National Statistics that indicates an average delay between nine and ten days.

The claims of Mr. Javid were used to support the need for additional Covid measures. The lag indicated that the country was at risk from an Omicron spike, which was, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Dr Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), has previously claimed that Omicron was ‘probably the most significant threat we’ve had since the start of the pandemic’.

It is understood that Dr Jenny Harries (pictured in May, file photo) was the source behind Health Secretary Sajid Javid's contested claim that there is typically a 17-day lag between infection and possible hospitalisation when someone is infected with Omicron

The claim by Health Secretary Sajid Javid that Omicron infected people have a typical 17-day delay between infecting them and being admitted to hospital is disputed by Dr Jenny Harries (pictured May, file photo).

According to government scientists, lockdown measures should be implemented. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, is considering whether more restrictions will be imposed before the new year or if they’ll wait longer.

Javid made the claim as SAGE (the government’s scientific advisory agency) released modeling that suggested that imposing social contact restrictions through March 31st would significantly reduce the number of Covid-19 deaths.

Javid made the claim about Omicron last weekend. However, only 85 Omicron cases had been confirmed. The number of Omicron cases has increased to 366.

The Sunday Telegraph quotes government sources as saying that new measures of lockdown are unlikely before next year based on new data and growing opposition from Conservative MPs. 

A former Treasury statistician said that 17 days of the figure could be due to ‘deliberate statistics sleight-of-hand designed to deceive’ or ‘incompetence’.

If it was deliberate, he said it seemed officials were ‘in effect trying to buy time as officials realise that data of rising hospitalisations is needed to justify lockdown’.

The chairman of Covid Recovery Group Mark Harper told the newspaper that “Covid restrictions harm people’s lives and livelihoods as well as their mental health.” It is crucial that any discussion about these restrictions be based on reliable data.

“Serious questions should be asked about whether senior health officials are providing misleading figures to Ministers, and not correcting them promptly.”

The accusations came after a further 122,186 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases were recorded in the UK as of 9am on Christmas Eve, another daily record, while 137 people had died within 28 days of testing positive

On December 20, there were 1,171 Covid-19 hospitalizations in the UK, up 30% from the week before and the highest since February 19.

On December 23, figures showed that 32,290.487 boosters and third doses were given. This is an increase of 605,561 per day.   

The 17-day leg claim by Sajid Javid was used to strengthen the case for more Covid measures, and the lag suggested the country was on the brink of a significant spike in Omicron hospitalisations that was - at the time - yet to be felt, according to The Sunday Telegraph

The Sajid Javid 17-day Leg Claim was used to support the case for additional Covid measures. The lag indicated that the country was at risk of an Omicron spike, which was, at the time, still not felt by The Sunday Telegraph

Pictured: Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries (left) appears during a press briefing alongside then-UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock (centre) at 10 Downing Street, along with Medical Director NHSE Nikki Kanani (right), May 15, 2020

Pictured: Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer (left), appears at a briefing with Matt Hancock (centre), then-UK Health Secretary (right), and Nikki Kanani, Medical Director NHSE (right), May 15, 2020

A’sobering” Office for National Statistics estimate showed that the Omicron Wave posed a threat to the UK. It estimated that approximately 1.7 million British citizens had Covid-19 during the week ended December 19. This is the highest figure since similar figures started in fall 2020.

Sir Ian Diamond is the national statistician. He stated that there was evidence that some people engaged in “safer behavior” but it was far too early for anyone to believe that they will experience a ‘continued rise’ in their numbers in future weeks.

Dr Harries however said that data released on Thursday showed a ‘glimmering of Christmas hope’, suggesting the Omicron strain could cause less severe disease than the Delta dominant.

According to the UKHSA data, there is speculation that Boris Johnson won’t impose further restrictions on England in December.

Nightclubs in Scotland will shut down for at most three weeks beginning December 27, as part of a series of precautionary measures against the spread the virus. Clubs in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, however, will close starting Boxing Day.

However, in England the government may decide to issue new guidelines on limiting contacts to avoid another Tory rebellion and recall Parliament.

According to the Prime Minister, he is not afraid to take action after Christmas. Monday will be the first chance for ministers and leaders to discuss whether any changes beyond Plan B are necessary.

When Dr Harries was asked if the government will be able to take key decisions by that time, he said that ministers would examine all data available. ‘Ministers won’t just look at what epidemiology says, but how that’s impacting society.

People queue for the Selfridges sale on London's Oxford Street  as the store opens at 11am to welcome shoppers. Around 1 in 10 people in London were likely infected with COVID-19 on Sunday, according to new official estimates that underlined the relentless advance of the Omicron variant of coronavirus

People queue for the Selfridges sale on London’s Oxford Street  as the store opens at 11am to welcome shoppers. According to official estimates, around 1/10 Londoners were infected by COVID-19 Sunday according to the latest figures. This demonstrates the rapid advance of Omicron coronavirus.

These comments are a reflection of her concerns regarding the high staff absenteeism in the NHS and other key services due to Omicron’s rapid expansion.

The number of NHS employees currently off sick is double that of the November end, and the Scottish Ambulance Service reports 243 absences, which accounts for more than three-quarters of their workforce. 352 staff of the 8,200-strong Scottish Fire and Rescue Service workforce were affected by Covid.

NHS England, across the border, published data showing that the number of lost staff days due to Covid-19 was 124855 last week. That’s a 38 per cent increase on the 90,277 reported days.

One NHS leader said the health service was now facing ‘a double emergency’ of growing Covid-19 hospitalisations and staff shortages, according to The Guardian.

These figures demonstrate how Omicron’s real-time effect is tangible on an already overloaded service. This is a big worry for trust leaders,’ Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers told the newspaper.

Covid-19 is responsible for nearly 40% of all deaths. With community infection rates on the rise, this number could get even worse.   

London’s hospital trusts saw a rise in Covid sickness of 122 percent over a week. The capital reported more Omicron cases in London than any other place in England. 

On Sunday, December 19, 3,874 NHS employees were sick in London. This is more than twice the 1,540 reported one week prior.

Official estimates have now indicated that around one in ten London residents was likely to be infected with COVID-19 by Sunday. The new figures underscore the constant advancement of this variant. 

Panel members of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies have examined modeling to assess the effects of restrictions that last for at least three months.

Warwick University’s model considered a return from Step 2 on the Government’s roadmap. This included indoor mixing and banning of homes with the rule six outside. It was effective starting December 28, 28 or January 1.

Sage SpiM-O modeling panel produced a paper that stated: “Rapidly implemented Step 2 measures reduce hospital pressure to around half the level it was under Plan B only.”

According to Sage Minutes, December 23, 2003, “The earlier intervention occurs, and the stricter they are, they’re more likely to be successful.”

Ministers are still waiting on additional data to determine if Warwick’s modeling is necessary.