Boris Johnson covid announcement – Omicron 'will kill 100x FEWER people than Delta and may be milder than seasonal flu'

OMICRON may kill 100 times fewer people than Delta and could be milder than seasonal flu, scientists reportedly believe.

Analysis of recent data shows covid killed one in 33 people who tested positive in January 2021 compared to just one in 670 now, MailOnline claims.

And researchers at Washington University modelling the next stage of the pandemic expect Omicron to kill up to 99 per cent fewer people than Delta suggesting it could end up being less deadly than flu the news site claimed.

Yesterday Sajid Javid revealed that Omicron is up to 90% milder for boosted Brits, and cases have dropped for a third day in a row.

A killer combination of boosters and groundbreaking antiviral drugs have put the country on a much better footing to fight Covid, he said.

Covid cases yesterday fell for the third day in a row, as 178,250 more infections have been reported.

Read our Covid-19 live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • John Hall

    Minister confirms how many Brits are currently isolating

    A MILLION Brits are currently isolating with Covid, a minister confirmed yesterday amid furious calls to slash the quarantine period to five days.

    After days of the Government refusing to clarify the scale of the problem, Care Minister Gillian Keegan confirmed "around a million" people are hunkering at home.

    However, top doc Sir Patrick Vallance told the nation "it was now clear" the variant was not as severe as previous mutations following a string of studies finding it cuts the risk of serious illness by up to 70 per cent.

  • John Hall

    The best New Year’s resolution is to get vaccinated’

    This is a comment piece by Sajid Javid

    ONE year ago today, the UK made history by becoming the first country in the world to deploy the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

    Since then, around 50 million Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered in the UK, saving millions of lives and reducing the pressure on health services.

    The vaccine is a brilliant example of British innovation and scientific excellence, backed by government investment.

    Despite rising cases and hospitalisations, curbs on our freedom must be a last resort and vaccinations are the best way to protect people and to help us to live with this virus. 

    If you haven’t already, the best new year’s resolution you can make is to play your part and join this national mission by getting vaccinated as soon as you can to protect yourselves, your loved ones and the health services we all rely on.

    Read the article in full here.

  • John Hall

    Boosters provide the most protection

    It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

    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.

  • John Hall

    Positive news

    Thanks to the booster rollout, the PM said the country will be in a stronger position to fight Omicron when Plan B measures expire in three weeks.

    His upbeat outlook in the Commons yesterday fuelled optimism that working from home, mandatory masks and vaccine passports won’t continue next month.

    Tory MPs praised the PM for resisting doomster demands for more restrictions and urged him to throw off the remaining curbs.

    Mr Johnson said: “As Omicron blows through and it is is very much my hope and belief that it will, I do believe we will get back to something much closer to normality.”

    While infections hit 194,000 yesterday, ministers are encouraged by growing evidence that Omicron is far milder than previous strains.

  • John Hall

    Fast track

    Boris Johnson has announced that more than 100,000 critical workers will be fast-tracked for lateral flow tests to stop essential services grinding to a halt.

    Critical workers in fields ranging from food processing to transport and the Border Force will get lateral flow tests every working day from January 10, he said.

    Kits will be sent directly to organisations.

  • Louis Allwood

    Key mistakes many people have been making

    Dr Nathan, an A&E doctor in London, has been producing helpful posts on his Instagram page (@expedition_doctor) to explain all about Covid lateral flow tests.

    What mistakes do people make when taking their lateral flow?

    “Failing to spot a positive test. 

    “Any positive line within 30 minutes, even if it is so faint that it is barely visible, equals a positive result. 

    “However, if a faint line appears after 30 minutes, this can be ignored.”

    What is the best way to take a lateral flow?

    “Read the enclosed instructions all the way through before you start the test. 

    “Don’t forget to avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes before, to blow your nose and to wash your hands!”

  • Louis Allwood

    Can asymptomatic patients spread coronavirus?

    Asymptomatic coronavirus patients can spread coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said. The website writes:

    “Infected people can transmit the virus both when they have symptoms and when they don’t have symptoms. This is why it is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, isolated, and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical care.  Even people confirmed to have Covid-19 but who do not have symptoms should be isolated to limit their contact with others.  These measures break chains of transmission.”

    The Omicron variant spreads at a rate faster than the previous Delta variant and can infect vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike.

    However, for those who are vaccinated, symptoms are much milder.

  • Louis Allwood

    What does it mean to be asymptomatic?

    Asymptomatic means a person has been tested positive but has no symptoms, and does not go on to develop symptoms, WHO epidemiologist Maria DeJoseph Van Kerkhove says.

    She adds: “A number of people are reported asymptomatic, actually may have mild disease. They may go on to develop symptoms. They may not quite register that they are sick. They can feel just a little bit unwell or under the weather, or fatigued. Some of those individuals we would classify as pre-symptomatic.”

  • Louis Allwood

    Omicron up to 90% milder than Delta

    The Health Secretary said the NHS faces a "rocky" few weeks but remained encouraged by the latest data emerging about the variant.

    A killer combination of boosters and groundbreaking antiviral drugs have put the country on a much better footing to fight Covid, he said.

    Speaking on a visit to King's College Hospital Mr Javid begged people to come forward for third jabs with an optimistic update on most recent findings.

    He said: "There are some encouraging signs. We know now that Omicron is less severe.

    "Once you get boosted your chance of hospitalisation our latest analysis shows that is almost 90 per cent less that what it was with Delta."

    And in a sobering warning, he said 70 per cent of the patients at the ICU he visited today were unvaccinated.

  • Louis Allwood

    Covid R rate as high as 1.6 in parts

    It's the first time the R rate has been updated since December 23 and it now sits between 1.2 and 1.6.

    In December, the rate had been between 1 and 1.2 and today's figure will represent closely what the rate had been around the Christmas period – as it has a lag of a couple of weeks.

    The update comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid today revealed that Omicron is 90 per cent milder than the Delta strain.

    Omicron is now responsible for the majority of cases in the UK and has taken over from the Delta variant.

    Experts have however this week said that Omicron cases may have peaked, after three million Brits had Covid on New Year's Eve.

  • Louis Allwood

    Have cases hit a peak

    Sarah Crofts, from the ONS, said: “There are early signs of a potential slowing but we continue to see infections increase, with Omicron now the dominant variant across all four nations.”

    Relieved MPs heaped praise on Boris Johnson for “standing firm” against lockdown.

    The PM says he does not believe the country needs to be plunged into further restrictions — but he admitted the NHS would again come under huge strain.

    Mr Johnson, addressing the Commons for the first time this year, said: “I know some may ask the opposite question whether we should go even further and move towards a full lockdown but lockdowns are not cost free. They impose a devastating toll on our physical and mental well-being, on businesses, jobs and livelihoods — and worst of all, on the life chances of our children.

    “So this Government does not believe we need to shut down our country again. We simply cannot go on by reaching endlessly for lockdowns.”

  • Louis Allwood

    A fourth might be on the way

    Mr Johnson hinted NHS and social care staff would be given fourth jabs as the effect of boosters might be waning.

    He hopes the UK can follow the US and cut isolation from seven to five days if scientists can show there is a low infection risk.

    The ONS found one in ten young people were infected in the week to December 31, with nine out of ten being Omicron.

    Another 194,747 infections were confirmed yesterday, a drop from Tuesday but the second highest figure so far. There were 334 more deaths, with figures still affected by the bank holiday.

  • Louis Allwood

    Boosters provide the most protection

    It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

    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.

  • Louis Allwood

    ‘Unusual’ new Omicron symptom in kids

    A number of kids under five who catch the variant seem to be suffering with a bad cough.

    It's a type of cough usually associated with croup – which sounds like a harsh barking noise.

    This type of cough is generally not harmful, but is unpleasant for parents to hear and can naturally cause worry.

    Doctors in the US have said it makes sense for Omicron to be causing this sort of a cough, because the variant settles higher in the respiratory tract.

    Previous strains of the virus would head deeper into the lungs, which was why it would cause a more severe illness.

  • Louis Allwood

    Britain could face LOCKDOWN again, Sajid Javid warns

    The Health Secretary is understood to have cautioned Boris Johnson before holiday checks were eased this week – but was overruled.

    Pre-departure and PCR tests are being axed for arrivals into Britain because Omicron is now so widespread.

    The changes were signed off at the Cabinet sub-committee Covid O on Wednesday and welcomed by holidaymakers.

    But Mr Javid was dead against the easing and warned it could harm our ability to catch any new variants.

    A government source told The Times: "He said that by scrapping them you increase the risk of having to shut down the entire economy. But he lost the argument."

    An ally of Mr Javid said: "We have a decision and he's fully behind that."

  • Louis Allwood

    No need for more Covid restrictions

    Gloomy calls to impose more Covid restrictions were today swiftly dismissed by a top minister. 

    Business minister Paul Scully said the Government "doesn't see the need" for fresh measures despite soldiers being deployed to ease the load on hospitals.

    He pointed to "encouraging" signs that London was over the peak of the outbreak amid clear evidence that Omicron is far milder than previous strains.

    And thanks to the booster rollout helping keep society open he declared: "2022 will be much brighter than 2021."

    Ministers are throwing the kitchen sink at the booster programme, which The Sun's Jab's Army campaign is helping to turbo-charge.

    Covid infections are still high and yesterday hit 179,000, luckily down on the previous few days.

  • Louis Allwood

    Soldiers deployed to hospitals

    Some 200 troops have been sent to hospitals to help plug absences of staff off sick or isolating.

    Mr Scully said we still need to be "on our guard" but was optimistic no more restrictions were needed.

    He told TalkRadio: "Having the army working within our hospitals is having extra bodies to cope with NHS pressures.

    "It's not the army on the streets in combat and weapons or anything like that. It's actually just helping those staff pressures.

    "We're not over it, in terms of the fact that we're learning to live with Covid. But I'm hoping that 2022, if we get past these next few weeks of pressure, is looking far brighter than 2021."

  • Louis Allwood

    Rule change exceptions

    There are a number of other exceptions to the rule-change, outlined by the Government:

    • people who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR so they can access financial support
    • people participating in research or surveillance programmes may still be asked to take a follow-up PCR test
    • around one million people in England who are at particular risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid are involved in new research of treatments
    • in Wales, those who are in a “clinically vulnerable” group will still need to take a PCR test.

    PCR and Lateral flow test changes

    From January 11 you won't have to do a PCR if you test positive on a lateral flow and don't have symptoms.

    The change is being brought in to relieve some pressure on the PCR tests, and to stop any potential extra spread.

    The rules are quite straightforward – if you test positive on a lateral flow, you isolate and assume you have Covid.

    If you don't have symptoms you don't need to do anything else, other than log your result on the Government website.

    Stay at home for the next week, only allowed to leave isolation if you test negative on days six and seven.

    But you have to remain isolating if you keep coming up as positive for two consecutive tests, 24 hours apart.

    Schools face closing in days

    Half of the schools in England have already turned to supply teachers to get the cover they need because of staff absences.

    The National Association of Headteachers have warned that the “worrying” problem is so bad many schools are already “teetering on the edge” of closure.

    Schools in England have already experienced staff absences of more than 10 per cent because of Covid.

    A poll by the NAHT revealed that 37 per cent of half the schools in England who turned to supply teachers have been unable to source the cover they need.

    Pressure is also ramping up on the Prime Minister to slash self-isolation period from seven to five days.

    New Omicron symptoms overtakes cough and fever

    The most reported symptoms come from Brits who have been struck with the bug in recent days, as Omicron is now the most prominent variant in circulation.

    The ZOE COVID study has been tracking symptoms since early 2020 with the help of millions of app users.

    The most frequently reported symptom is a runny nose, affecting 73 per cent of people who had a positive Covid test.

    It’s followed by headache (68 per cent), fatigue (64 per cent), sneezing (60 per cent), and sore throat (60 per cent).

    Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean it’s definitely due to Covid, as they can also occur with other illnesses. 

    However, ZOE estimates that more than half (51.3 per cent) of people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic Covid as opposed to another winter bug.

    • Louis Allwood

      Holiday boost as pre-departure tests scrapped

      BRITS have been given a holiday boost as Government confirmed yesterday that pre-departure tests will be scrapped – and day two tests can be swapped for cheaper lateral flow tests.

      Holidaymakers will no longer need to take Covid tests before they return to the UK, which risked travellers being stranded abroad if they tested positive.

      Day two test rules will also change, with Brits no longer forced to pay for expensive PCR tests, and can instead have a cheaper lateral flow.

      This means families could save hundreds of pounds on their holidays, with the £22 pre-departure scrapped – saving £88 for a family of four.

      And lateral flows cost around £60 on average less than PCR tests – saving £240 per family.

      Brits who are fully vaccinated also won’t have to isolate on their return – currently they have to wait for the results of their day two test.

    • Louis Allwood

      The two ‘strange’ Omicron symptoms

      Two strange symptoms that have popped up for sufferers are pink eye or conjunctivitis and hair loss.

      Eye trouble can appear alongside other symptoms, which is within about two days for Omicron, and hair loss is more likely near the end of an illness.

      According to Healthline, the virus enters the body's cells through receptors for the enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) by tricking it into thinking it's the enzyme rather than Covid.

      And although hair loss is not a typical Covid symptom, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association hair shedding is quite common after a high fever.

    • Louis Allwood

      Booster for Brits

      The PM has said: "We can keep our schools and our businesses open, and we can find a way to live with this virus."

      He added the country has a "good chance of getting through the Omicron wave without the need for further restrictions" and ruled out a full-fat lockdown.

      Mr Johnson is confident that boosters, rather than crippling Covid curbs, give Brits the best chance of beating the virus and sent up another plea for people to get jabbed.

      The Sun's Jab's Army campaign is helping turbo-charge the rollout by getting vital shots into arms.

    • Louis Allwood

      Around 100,000 critical workers to have daily tests

      The PM has said: “The weeks ahead are going to be challenging. There is no escaping the fact that some services will be disrupted by staff absences.

      “We’ve been working through Christmas to prepare for this where possible.

      “The Government is acting to protect critical national services to keep supply chains open and fortify our NHS to withstand the pressures ahead.

      “We’ve identified 100,000 in areas from food processing, to transport, to border force and from January 10, we’ll be rolling out lateral flow testing to all these workers on every working day.

      “We’ll be sending testing kits directly to these organisations and liaising with them on the logistics.”

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