The variety of Covid infections seems to have reached a plateau in elements of the UK, a senior authorities well being adviser has mentioned, with consultants expressing optimism concerning the newest information.
Infections are flattening in London, the south-east and the east of England, whereas the rise is slowing within the north of England, mentioned Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Safety Company (UKHSA) chief medical adviser.
Case figures stay comparatively excessive, nonetheless, with an estimated one in 15 folks in England contaminated, whereas the determine for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is one in 20.
About one in 10 folks in north-west England had Covid-19 final week, in response to figures from the Office for National Statistics. London’s fee fell from one in 10 at the end of 2021 to 1 in 15 within the week ending 6 January.
Whereas hospital admissions haven’t but begun to fall, their fee of improve can be slowing down, Hopkins informed BBC Radio 4’s Immediately programme. “We’re seeing a slowdown within the variety of admissions to hospital, however they’re slowing down slightly than reversing for the time being, so there are nonetheless greater than 2,000 admissions to hospital throughout the UK, and almost 2,500 yesterday.”
The most recent information comes after more than one in six NHS trusts in England declared essential incidents as a result of Covid pressures, many because of workers shortages. In the meantime, almost 6 million people in England – a file determine – are at the moment ready for hospital therapy, NHS figures present.
Hopkins mentioned hospitals had been in a position to discharge sufferers extra shortly due to Omicron much less extreme than earlier variants. With about 15,500 folks in hospital final week, nonetheless, some trusts stay “unable to do a lot of their elective care”.
Dr Chris Smith, a advisor virologist and lecturer based mostly at Cambridge College, mentioned the newest figures gave him “nice trigger for optimism”, telling BBC Breakfast: “The variety of people who find themselves going into intensive care or are on mechanical air flow beds is definitely dropping.” As 96% of individuals within the nation now have antibodies, the overwhelming majority of persons are in a position to higher “fend off” the illness and “we don’t see that robust connection of instances turning into penalties”.
Linda Bauld, a professor of public well being on the Edinburgh College and chief social coverage adviser to the Scottish authorities, additionally expressed cautious optimism. “The instances, if we take a look at them, are happening by over 20%,” she informed BBC Breakfast, including that Friday was the primary day “for some time” that instances within the UK had fallen under 100,000.
Bauld mentioned that “issues appear to be transferring in the fitting course” however warned that hospital numbers remained “very excessive”.