When will Omicron cases peak in the UK as South Africa goes ‘over the curve’


South Africa, one of the first nations to face a severe wave of Omicron, appears to be climbing back down from the peak, and so questions are being asked about when the UK will be also move over the hump – and if the signs are already there

Could the worst of the Omicron wave be approaching?
Could the worst of the Omicron wave be approaching?

As the Omicron variant rips through Britain, daily case number records break. Yesterday, on December 23, over 119,000 new cases were recorded.

Current daily figures look to almost double the peak of the bleak January 2021 wave – around 68,000.

However, some good news remains, with preliminary studies indicating that the new variant may not be as deadly as previous strains.

Furthermore, cases in South Africa, which was hit very hard and very early by Omicron, are believed to have peaked.

This means the day with the highest number of new cases has hopefully been and gone.

According to the Times, South African Scientists are now confident cases in their country have reached their highest point.

Despite no official lockdown, Omicron has returned the UK’s busiest areas to reflections Cvoid waves past
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In mid-November South Africa was experiencing just 300 daily cases. Around a month later on December 17 that number had climbed to 23,400.

However, by December 22 this number had shrunk to 17,400 and since then there has been no indication there would be another sharp rise.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee,, national chair of the South African Medical Association and one of the first frontline doctors to come into contact with patients with Omicron, told CNN that South Africa is now “over the curve”.

When will Omicron cases peak in the UK?

There is no clear day that the UK will reach its peak, but if the South African example is anything to go by then numbers should start to drop off again in the coming weeks.

It is of course risky to compare two countries with different demographics and health structures and so there are no guarantees, but optimism remains that the UK will follow suit.

On Wednesday, an infectious diseases expert from the University of East Anglia, Professor Paul Hunter, told the Daily Mail that cases “look like they’ve peaked.”

He continued: “It’s not all doom and gloom, it does look like Omicron has stopped growing. The numbers over the last few days seem to have plateaued and maybe even be falling,

“It’s a bit too soon to be absolutely sure about that, but if it is the case Boris Johnson will breathe a sigh of relief. We have to be a little bit careful because it’s only a few days.

“And because we’re getting closer to Christmas there is nervousness that people may not come forward for testing because they don’t want to test positive and miss out on meeting relatives.

People queue outside the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) for the NHS Scotland vaccination centre
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“Omicron overtook the other variants around 14 December so most of any changes from there on would be down to Omicron. So if it was still doubling every two days that would have shown and we should have been at 200,000 cases yesterday and certainly more than 200,000 cases today.

Statements about totally passing the peak have proved to be untrue, of course, with cases rising by their thousands again the following day, Thursday, December 23.

However, indications that the rate may be slowing are beginning to appear. It was thought Omicron cases were doubling every two days, which no longer appears to be the case.

Under such modelling, cases would have been expected to reach 200,000 on Tuesday. However by Thursday, despite increasing still they were at 119,000.

The speed at which cases slow remains to be seen and could depend on the Christmas break and government restrictions.

Although restrictions in the UK are now unlikely to be introduced before Christmas, there are no guarantees that they won’t be brought in before the new year.

The possibility of a circuit breaker remains very real.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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