Johnson admits some hospitals already really feel overwhelmed at instances

Good morning. And joyful new yr to everybody.

Or joyful new yr (medium confidence), as they could put it in a Sage report, utilizing the usual formulation scientists apply to point out how assured they’re in regards to the judgments they make. (It’s not a behavior that foyer correspondents have adopted, though maybe we must always.)

Medium confidence might be additionally great way of summing up Prof Neil Ferguson’s general temper when he was interviewed on the In the present day programme this morning. Ferguson, the Imperial Faculty epidemiologist whose modelling is carefully adopted by authorities, stated he was “cautiously optimistic” that the Omicron pandemic could have plateaued in London (the place circumstances have been highest) amongst the under-50s. He instructed the programme:

I believe I’m cautiously optimistic that an infection charges in London in that key 18-50 age group, which has been driving the Omicron epidemic, could probably have plateaued, it’s too early to say whether or not they’re taking place but.

And that is what he stated when he was requested whether or not he thought, general, the impact of Omicron was as dangerous as initially feared, or whether or not it was higher. He replied:

I believe the excellent news right here is it’s definitely much less extreme. We expect, for those who’ve by no means been contaminated earlier than, by no means had a vaccine, [there is] a couple of one third drop within the threat of simply any hospital admission, most likely a two thirds drop within the threat of dying from Omicron. So [it is] considerably much less extreme. And that has helped us undoubtedly. We might be seeing a lot greater an infection case numbers in hospital in any other case.

And vaccines, as we at all times anticipated they might, are holding up towards extreme outcomes effectively.

Nicely that doesn’t imply it’s not going to be, because the prime minister stated, a tough few weeks for the NHS.

This may occasionally not sound definitive, however Ferguson sounded noticeably extra assured as we speak about Omicron being much less extreme than Delta than he was two weeks in the past, when Imperial Faculty printed early analysis on this subject.

I’ll put up extra from his interview shortly.

Right here is the agenda for the day.

11am: Keir Starmer delivers his speech in Birmingham. As Aubrey Allegretti reviews, Starmer will use it to launch his plan to keep up the momentum of Labour’s ballot lead within the runup to the subsequent election.

11.30am: Downing Avenue holds a foyer briefing.

In the present day I can be focusing totally on UK Covid developments and on Starmer’s speech. For wider Covid protection, do learn our world reside weblog.

Associated: Covid reside information: US units world report of 1m each day circumstances; workers absence inflicting disaster say NHS trusts

I attempt to monitor the feedback under the road (BTL) however it’s inconceivable to learn all of them. You probably have a direct query, do embrace “Andrew” in it someplace and I’m extra more likely to discover it. I do attempt to reply questions, and if they’re of basic curiosity, I’ll put up the query and reply above the road (ATL), though I can’t promise to do that for everybody.

If you wish to appeal to my consideration shortly, it’s most likely higher to make use of Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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