While we made significant breakthroughs in 2021 it also was a year when new threats arose, particularly the Omicron variant, which is still spreading rapidly around the globe.
Despite this new adversary, the steps we took, especially the expansion of this country’s booster programme, meant we saw in the New Year in a far stronger position than we were at the end of 2020.
Even though this is a troubling time, it’s still alarming: According to data from the Office for National Statistics last week, one-in-25 people in England tested positive for Covid-19. Hospitalisations also continue to rise.
Sajid Javid (Health Secretary), pictured today, stated that patients currently in ICUs are not following the same trajectory as last year’s Alpha wave.
The UK Health and Security Agency recently revealed that Covid-19 is three to eight times more common in people who are not vaccinated.
The numbers of intensive care units have stabilized and are not following the same trajectory as last year’s Alpha wave. Therefore, we decided not further steps were taken before this new year and welcomed in 2022 using some of the most restrictive European measures.
We must not allow restrictions on freedom. The British people expect us to make every effort to avoid them. Since I came into this role six months ago, I’ve also been acutely conscious of the enormous health, social and economic costs of lockdowns. So I’ve been determined that we must give ourselves the best chance of living alongside the virus and avoiding strict measures in the future.
To help us achieve this, we’ve built up three lines of defence which, when taken together, are some of the deepest and the strongest in the world.
First, of course, is the vaccination programme, and we’ve now met our highly ambitious target that we would offer every eligible adult in England the opportunity to get a booster by the end of 2021.
We’ve now met our highly ambitious target that we would offer every eligible adult in England the opportunity to get a booster by the end of 2021
According to the UK Health and Security Agency, people who have not been vaccinated are three-to eight times as likely to need Covid-19 treatment. This is based on age.
Second, we’ve built up a huge testing infrastructure. We saw the benefits of regular testing over Christmas. Regular tests give us confidence in our ability to live with loved ones. Although it has been a time of massive global demand, we almost tripled distribution of lateral flow tests in December, to 300million, and we’re also tripling the supply for January and February compared to our pre-Omicron plans.
The third line of defense is treatment, which we offer the best antivirals program in Europe. Paxlovid was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency yesterday. It is a revolutionary antiviral treatment. We’ve secured almost three million courses, and Paxlovid will join an array of Covid-19 treatments that we’re making available.
These defenses can keep large numbers of people from going to the hospital. However, even though we’ve seen some encouraging research about the severity of Omicron, its increased transmissibility means it can still lead to significant numbers of hospitalisations.
Due to the time lag between infections and hospitalisations, it’s inevitable that we will still see a big increase in people needing care from the NHS over the next month. This will likely test the NHS’s limits even more than in a normal winter.
I’ve been working closely with the NHS, to make sure it is ready and resilient for what lies ahead. We’ve recruited almost 20,000 more clinical staff since September 2020 and we’re boosting bed capacity too, including through new Nightingale surge hubs within hospital grounds.
As we begin 2022, we also enter our third year in a global pandemic – a pandemic that is still far from over. While we face it in a stronger position because of all the incredible work that’s been done this past year, we all have a part to play in making sure we get off to the best possible start: by keeping each other safe, testing ourselves regularly, and if we’re eligible, by getting the jab.
Sajid Javid Health Secretary says we must live with Covid. After the UK’s record of a pandemic peak of 189.846 deaths, Sajid Javid stresses that no restrictions can be applied and vows not to use lockdowns in 2022.
Sajid Javid today pledges to do all he can to prevent another lockdown in this year.
Writing in the Daily Mail, the Health Secretary says any fresh curbs on freedoms must be ‘an absolute last resort’, adding that the country is in ‘a far stronger position’ at the start of 2022 than it was 12 months ago.
The Omicron variant, which is rapidly spreading in the United States, continues to cause an increase in Coronavirus cases. Official figures yesterday showed that up to 41% of patients in Britain with Covid-19 went to hospital to get treatment. One in three is the national figure.
Mr Javid says the numbers in intensive care units remain stable, meaning ‘we have welcomed in 2022 with some of the least restrictive measures in Europe’. Mr Javid went on: ‘Curbs on our freedom must be an absolute last resort and the British people rightly expect us to do everything in our power to avert them.
Sajid Javid (Health Secretary), said that Britons would have to adjust to the existence of Covid-19.
‘Since I came into this role six months ago, I’ve also been acutely conscious of the enormous health, social and economic costs of lockdowns.
‘So I’ve been determined that we must give ourselves the best chance of living alongside the virus and avoiding strict measures in the future.’
- A further 189,846 lab-confirmed Covid-19 cases were reported in the UK yesterday – another record for daily reported cases. There were also another 203 deaths.
- According to data from the Office for National Statistics, an estimated 2.33 million people had Covid-19 during the week that ended December 23rd. This is the most ever recorded.
- Britain’s coronavirus heroes are recognised in the New Year Honours today, including knighthoods for Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.
- In an attempt to safeguard staff and patients from rising Covid infection rates, more than 12 hospitals in the United States temporarily suspended visits.
- In the UK, there has been a decrease in Covid patients using mechanical ventilation beds. It went from 931 people on November 30, to just 868 December 29.
- Pressure grew for England’s isolation period to be cut from seven to five days after Greece became the latest country to make the move.
- South Africa’s nighttime curfew was lifted for the first times in 21 months following the Omicron wave.
- Britain became one of the first countries in the world to approve a second pill that can treat Covid at home – this time a Pfizer antiviral.
Sajid Javid (Health Secretary), pictured right, stated that he had not considered a lockdown, but added that any such move would only be an option.
“We will continue to see an increase in the number of people who need care from the NHS,” he warned.
Javid claimed that the European government has introduced the most stringent Covid-19 regulations in Europe. He pictured Londoners on Regent Street on Christmas Eve
Britain was also one the first countries to reopen. This photo shows people in Soho, April 16.
Javid said that he hasn’t ruled out another lockdown, and sources in government confirmed that they are still waiting for critical information on the effect of Christmas on Covid spread.
The Health Secretary warned: ‘Due to the time lag between infections and hospitalisations, it’s inevitable that we will still see a big increase in people needing care from the NHS over the next month. This will likely test the limits of finite NHS capacity even more than a typical winter.’
However, NHS England figures show the number of patients in hospital ‘with Covid’ is growing almost twice as quickly as the number who are there ‘because of’ the disease.
There were 8,321 patients with coronavirus in NHS hospitals in England on December 28 – but only 5,578 of them were being treated primarily for the disease. This means that one third of Covid patients ended up in hospital for treatment for other conditions, like a broken leg.
It is now one in four, up from the December 12th figure of one-in-four. 40% of patients admitted to hospital Covid in the Midlands are now suffering from the virus.
From 4,432 patients on December 21st to 5,578 one week later, the number of Covid-related hospital admissions in England rose 26 percent.
The number of Covid patients being treated for primary reasons jumped 51 percent in the same time, jumping from 1,813 up to 2,743.
Two separate charts show that the percentage of patients in adult acute and general hospitals occupied with any condition has fallen from 93% to 87% over the last week. This is helping relieve pressure on NHS.
Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, said: ‘I am worried these figures for people in hospital with Covid – rather than because of it – could bounce us into a lockdown or further restrictions in January.
‘The high numbers create anxiety in government and the public based on erroneous conclusions.
‘Accurate statistics on true Covid cases hospitalised are required to back up the reassuring data on intensive care admission, which has remained stable, and verify that this variant is not making a large proportion of people severely ill.’
NHS England has pointed out that Covid-positive admissions being treated primarily for something else have to be separated from non-Covid patients, and that the virus can be a ‘significant’ secondary condition. It added: ‘The majority of inpatients with Covid-19 are admitted as a result of the infection.’