Daily Covid infections drop to 109,133 as Sajid Javid hails falling hospital cases
THE UK has seen another huge drop in daily Covid cases today – with numbers nearly below 100,000.
Another 109,133 new infections have been reported in the past 24 hours, as the rate of hospital admissions has also started to fall.
It comes after Heath Secretary Sajid Javid said "there are already early signs that the rate of hospitalisation is starting to slow".
He told the Commons today Omicron: "Due to the lag between infections and hospitalisations, the NHS will remain under significant pressure over the next few weeks.
"It is encouraging, however, that during this wave we have not seen an increase in Covid-19 intensive care patients, and there are already early signs that the rate of hospitalisation is starting to slow.
"We know that Omicron is less severe. But no-one should be under any illusions – it is severe for anyone that ends up in hospital, and that's far more likely if you have not had the jab."
Deaths are still higher than they had been, with 335 new fatalities reported today, although this is lower than yesterday's 398.
This fits with the pattern of a Covid wave however – a few weeks on from high cases, some extra deaths will now sadly catch up for those harder hit with the virus.
A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains in the vaccinated, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
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Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
Today the latest data from a Covid survey revealed the Omicron wave has peaked in the UK.
Professor Tim Spector said today: "From Zoe data, the Omicron peak has gone, a few days ago.
"Across the country we are seeing a decrease in virtually all areas, except perhaps the North East, but that is starting to slow down.
"The Omicron wave has peaked and is going down so we're on the other side so that's great – but of course we don't know what the future holds.
It was also revealed just under half of all patients with Covid in hospital are being treated for something else primarily.
Of the 15,026 patients reported as having the virus on January 11, 6,647 (44 per cent) were not in hospital due to the virus, according to NHS England.
But while Covid patients are not near the horrifying highs seen on wards this time last year, hospitals have struggled with rising cases and absent staff.
This has been the catalyst that sparked the slashing of Covid isolation from seven days to five full days, which will come into force on Monday.
Mr Javid told ministers people who test positive in England can soon leave isolation after five days, with negative tests on days five and six.
Health chiefs had resisted doing this sooner, after already reducing isolation from ten to seven days just before Christmas.
But as fresh research suggested the change would only result in an extra two in 100 people leaving quarantine while still infectious, ministers changed their minds.
Nearly all Brits are now protected against Covid with a record 97.5 per cent having antibodies against the virus.
Office for National Statistics figures show the proportion of people with immunity has hit a pandemic high.
And these antibodies – which seek and destroy the virus if it gets into the body – is helping to stave off an Omicron crisis.
They don’t prevent infections but stop most people from getting seriously ill or dying.
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