Three doses of Covid optimism were delivered yesterday. As cases fell further, there are hints that Plan B could soon be lifted.
A leading government adviser said a 41 per cent weekly decline in infections indicated the Omicron wave might well be ‘turning around’.
Professor Mike Tildesley said the latest figures were ‘cautiously good news’ and Britain might have a flu-type relationship with the virus by the end of the year.
The UK reported another 84 429 Covid-19 cases yesterday, compared to 142,224 Monday and 218,724 January 4.
‘It does look like across the whole of the country cases do seem to be falling,’ Professor Tildesley told BBC Breakfast.
‘I would say we probably need about an extra week of data to really see the effect of children going back to school but if we still see that over the next week or so, I’d be pretty confident that we are seeing this wave turning around.’
Asked whether changes in testing rules, leading to fewer PCR swabs, may have contributed to the drop in cases, he replied: ‘Even taking into account any changes in testing, I think it is pretty clear the Omicron wave is slowing down.
‘If this wave starts to turn around and hopefully as we get towards the warmer weather, we can start to see these restrictions removed and we can have more of a discussion about what living with Covid is going to be like.’
Professor Mike Tildesley, a University of Warwick academic and leading government adviser, said the latest Covid figures were ‘cautiously good news’
Professor Tildesley (pictured during an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain last year), says he hopes we will have a ‘flu-type relationship with Covid’
An academic from the University of Warwick, who is also a member of SPI–M’s advisory group for government modelling, stated that viruses are more easily transmitted, and generally less severe.
He added: ‘So my hope is that, as we get further into this year and next year, we are dealing with milder versions of Covid and hopefully we have more of a flu-type relationship with Covid.’
The number of Covid-19 admissions at hospitals in England fell to 1,604 on Saturday from the 1,862 last week.
The number of virus-positive patients in Wards dropped from 17120 one week ago to 16,621. After testing positive, 85 more people died.
Downing Street said there were ‘encouraging signs’ in the data as Boris Johnson considered whether England’s Plan B restrictions can be lifted on January 26, when they are due to expire.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the ‘maximum amount of time possible’ would be given to prepare for any changes in the rules.
‘In terms of the data, there are some encouraging signs that infections are falling across the country,’ the spokesman said.
Nadhim Zahawi said it was ‘looking positive’ for Plan B measures to be lifted on January 26. BBC Breakfast heard from the Education Secretary, however:
‘If you look at infection rates, they remain high, hospitalisations are still high, touching 20,000 people in hospital, but it feels like they’re plateauing.
‘The good news is the number of people in ICU has been coming down, certainly in London, which was the epicentre.’
Latest data shows that experts made wildly incorrect pessimistic assessments.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine forecast more than 120,000 Covid patients could be in hospital at the peak of the Omicron wave, if booster jabs proved effective and no additional measures other than Plan B were introduced.
In England, bed occupancy has risen to just 17.120 per month in the past month.
The University of Warwick forecast more than 20,000 Covid patients could be admitted to hospital every day – but the highest figure so far has been 2,370.