Covid deaths and hospitalisations are much lower now than this time last year in the UK, government stats show, despite the coronavirus case count being roughly three times as high
Image: Getty Images)
A further 127 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 in the UK, government stats show.
The official death toll from the deadly virus now stands at 145,551 across the course of the pandemic.
Coronavirus cases recorded remain steady compared to the previous two Saturday’s, with today’s 42,848 slightly up from 39,567 seven days ago and 40,941 the week before that.
Only Germany, which logged more than 55,000 positive tests yesterday, is dealing with more cases.
The data comes at the end of a concerning week, with the arrival of the Omicron variant on British shores forcing Boris Johnson to insist that Christmas will go ahead as normal.
However, comparison with figures from this time last year suggests further restriction are not out of the question.
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On this date in 2020, 504 people died of Covid – more than three times more than the death toll today.
A total of 7,373 people were in hospital with the disease as of Thursday, half that of the 15,977 on the same date last year.
However, 16,298 cases were logged – a third of the number today.
The difference between this year and last is the vaccine, which has drastically cut hospitalisations and deaths despite the case count being significantly higher than 12 months ago.
If scientists’ worse fears about Omicron are realised, then the wall of protection offered by the vaccine may be breached and more stringent coronavirus restrictions reintroduced.
SIPA USA/PA Images)
The mutant strain has around 30 mutations on its spike protein, meaning it may be able to neutralise the effect of antibodies.
In recognition of the threat Omicron poses, Downing Street reintroduced mask mandates on public transport and in shops this week.
At the time Johnson said: “Our scientists are learning more hour by hour, and it does appear that Omicron spreads very rapidly, and can be spread between people who are double vaccinated.”
Asked about the prospect for this year’s festivities, and whether any more restrictions would be introduced, the PM said: “We continue to be in a strong position largely thanks to the speed of the vaccine rollout, another booster rollout and I think I’m going to stick with the formula I’ve used before, which is I’m pretty confident to absolutely confident this Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.