Omicron wave fizzles out with 19,795 new cases as 1 in 18 infected

A FURTHER 19,795 people have tested positive for coronavirus today, new data has revealed.

One in 18 people in the UK currently have the bug, but infections have fallen in all four nations for the first time since January.

A further 284 deaths were reported today, 28 days after a positive coronavirus test.

It’s the first time in over a week and a half that deaths have been under 300-a-day.

Cases have plummeted in the UK and fresh statistics from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), showed that the crucial R rate has also fallen.

It’s currently between 0.9 to 1.1, a fall from two weeks ago when the range was between 1.1. to 1.2.

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An R value between 0.9 and 1.1 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between 9 and 11 other people.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that rates have decreased in all regions in the UK but that the rate is uncertain in the North East.

Infections have also decreased in those aged two to school year 6 and those in age groups between School Year 12 to age 69.

Duncan Cook, Deputy Director for the Covid-19 Infection Survey, said: “We continue to see a welcome decrease in infections across England, Northern Ireland and Scotland in today’s data.

“For the first time in several weeks, we are also seeing a decrease in Wales too.

“It’s encouraging to see that infections have decreased in all age groups across England.

“Despite the decrease in infections, it’s important to note that levels remain high. We continue to monitor these going forward.”

Cases are still being recorded, but numerous studies show that Omicron is a milder variant than those that came before it.

The successful rollout of vaccines in the UK has meant that those who have had three jabs have the most protection against Omicron.

Health officials are continuing to urge people to have their shots and spring boosters are still being rolled out.

Sajid Javid said the rise in infections last month was to be expected after restrictions were lifted, and the Government wasn’t concerned due to Omicron causing a milder illness.

The huge drop in falling official cases coincided with the scrapping of free tests last month – but the rise had started to dip before then.

ON THE DECLINE

Data published this week by the UKHSA states that Covid activity across case rates and hospitalisations has declined in the last week.

The hospital admission rate for the latest week was 16.17 per 100,000 population, down from 19.94 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for Covid were highest in the North East, with a rate of 22.79 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “It is encouraging that Covid-19 hospital admissions and acute respiratory infections continue to fall this week. We should all take action to keep driving this downward trend.

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“Vaccination provides the greatest protection against severe illness. 

“Please ensure you are up-to-date with your latest jabs. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.”

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