GRAPHS show how Omicron is fuelling the fastest ever Covid acceleration in London.
The strain now accounts for more cases than Delta, despite only being detected for the first time three weeks ago.
A graph put together by Oliver Johnson, Professor of Information Theory at the School of Mathematics, University of Bristol, plots the Covid cases reported by London onto a graph.
Publishing it on Twittter, he said “since we know that omicron is growing at a similar rate in most regions, with various places being about a week behind London..
"Then it might be prudent to imagine that the next few places on this list might also see a big steepening in cases in the next week.”
Prof Tim Spector, an epidemiologist, commented “London cases are really accelerating faster than we have seen previously” – including in the first wave.
He leads the ZOE Covid Symptom Study app, which tracks cases of the virus using millions of app users.
Graphs from the study show an acceleration in Covid cases far greater than any other region in England – although the Midlands and South East have the most active cases currently.
Prof Spector told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In London, where Covid is increasing rapidly, it's far more likely to be Covid than it is to be a cold.
“We’re seeing doubling in the numbers equivalent to what’s being seen elsewhere, every two-and-a-half days, and that really means numbers are going up.
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“If we look at our regional charts we see London accelerating more than we’ve seen it since the very first wave and this now means that Omicron is the predominant variant already.
“We’ll be at 100 per cent very soon, so that’s happened in just a matter of days – that’s is why so many people are going down with infections.”
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Data from the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) relevant to December 10 reported that 40 per cent of cases in London were caused by Omicron.
But now, it makes up at least one in two Covid infections.
London’s public health chief Professor Kevin Fenton told The Evening Standard: “Our latest monitoring of provisional data indicates that over 50 per cent of cases sent for further analysis in London are now Omicron, replacing Delta as the dominant variant.”
JAB BLACK HOLE
He added how crucial it was “that Londoners get fully vaccinated” with all doses they are eligible for.
“I want to thank Londoners for their immense response over the past couple of days in coming forward for their vaccines and protecting themselves and their communities. As a city we can do this,” Mr Fenton said.
Parts of London have the lowest uptake of the Covid vaccine.
While Brits are being urged to get their booster shots, millions in the capital haven’t even had one dose yet.
A third of Londoners are completely unvaccinated, data from NHS England show.
And although there are more young people in the capital, vaccination rates are low across all age bands – and the worst in comparison to other regions – according to The Times.
For example, 88 per cent of over-90s are vaccinated, compared with 97 per cent in the South West.
And although those 88 per cent have two vaccine doses, experts have now wanted that two doses of a vaccine is not strong enough to protect against Omicron.
The lower vaccination rates in London, where less than six in 10 18-24 year olds are jabbed, could be contributing to the sharp rise in cases as Omicron takes hold.
SHARP CASE RISES
Boroughs of London are seeing the highest week-on-week rises in cases, according to data from the Government coronavirus dashboard analysed by PA.
The biggest jump in seven days was reported in Southwark, where cases increased from 436.5 to 747.1 per 100,000 people.
Second was Hackney & City of London (388.5 to 667.7), then Lambeth (479.8 to 753.5), Islington (382.5 to 646.9) and Lewisham (479.5 to 709.8).
It comes after Britain reported 59,610 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest figure since early January.
The number of new infections is the fifth highest recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year.
The figures also showed there had been 150 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, described the Omicron coronavirus variant as “probably the most significant threat we’ve had since the start of the pandemic”.
She told the Commons’ Transport Select Committee today that it appeared to be getting faster once more.
Dr Harries told MPs: “The difficulty is that the growth of this virus, it has a doubling time which is shortening – ie it’s doubling faster, growing faster.
“In most regions in the UK it is now under two days. When it started we were estimating about four or five.
“So if you think of that growth rate right across the UK, and we’re starting to see it and feel it now in London particularly, but yesterday particularly around Manchester, and we’re very sure there are levels growing across most communities in the UK now, although there is quite a lot of regional variation still.”
She added: “The real potential risk here – and I would underline that because we are still learning a lot about the variant – is in relation to its severity, clinical severity, and therefore whether those cases turn into severe disease, hospitalisations and deaths.
“We’re still at too early stage for that, in fact the world probably is still at too early stage to be clear.”
Meanwhile, Plan C is reportedly already being drawn up by Government chiefs in a bid to slow down the spread of the Omicron Covid variant.
It would see the reintroduction of Covid rules such as table service at pubs and restaurants and vaccine passports in smaller venues.
Under Plan C, punters would have to check in with the NHS Covid app to dine out and enjoy a drink.
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