27 diciembre, 2021

UK hits more than 100,000 Covid cases a day for first time

New modelling shows that more than 35 billion infections are expected worldwide over the next two months.

The UK has recorded more than 100,000 cases of Covid for the first time since the pandemic began.

Latest data from the UK Health Security Agency shows that more than 106,122 people tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hours – the first time that the figures have breached the 100,000 mark. This means that more than 11 million people have tested positive for the disease in the UK over the course of the pandemic.

The number of positive cases has increased by more than 60 per cent over the last seven days – on December 14, 59,610 cases of Covid were reported.

The daily data also showed a total of 8,008 people were in hospital in the UK with Covid-19 as of December 21. This is the highest number since November 22 and is up four per cent from a week earlier.

The rise in cases is fuelled by the omicron variant, which is much more transmissible than the previous dominant delta strain.

In less than a month since the first reported case of omicron in the UK on November 27, the variant is now the dominant strain across the country.

In London, the epicentre of the surge, nearly 90 per cent of cases have what is known as an S-gene dropout. Delta does not have an S-gene dropout so this gives a clue that cases could be the new variant.

While there has not been the exponential growth in cases that experts warned of when omicron’s increased transmissibility was first highlighted, many believe that this is because the UK’s testing capacity is at its limit.

The UK has the capacity to run 815,000 tests a day but a briefing from the UKHSA last week showed that the virus was doubling every one and a half days.

Professor Alan McNally of the University of Birmingham, who helped set up the first government Lighthouse Lab at the beginning of the pandemic, told Sky News: “You have to question why we’re still running PCR tests. It’s taking longer for a PCR result to come back than it’s currently taking for the epidemic to double.”

Data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in the United States showed the speed at which the omicron variant is taking hold across the world.

Modellers believe that worldwide there will be more than three billion infections in the next two months – as many infections as were seen in the first two years of the pandemic.

Peak transmission will be in mid-January with over 35 million global infections a day, nearly three times the delta wave peak in April.

Experts expect omicron to eventually reach all countries, even those with strict border controls based on the delta wave.

However, the modellers added that a much larger proportion of these infections will be asymptomatic – around 90 to 95 per cent, compared to 40 per cent for delta.

“At the global level and country by country we’re going to see a truly enormous surge in infections,” said Chris Murray Murray, director of IHME.

But he added there was a “shred of good news”.

“This massive surge of infections and cases will translate into a smaller surge in hospitalisations than either the delta wave or the winter peak last winter at the global level.

“That will vary very much by country. Australia and New Zealand could see a much worse epidemic than they have seen so far. But many countries should actually see a smaller hospital surge, and certainly a smaller surge in deaths than their previous surges.”

Créditos: Comité científico Covid

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