Yesterday (21 December) Boris Johnson announced that no new curbs would be introduced before the Christmas holiday as there was not enough evidence to support added restrictions. Infectious disease expert, Professor Paul Hunter, says his decision may have to do with the fact that the rate of infection appears to have stabilised in the last five days.
Reaching a plateau
Since Friday (17 December), when daily cases hit an all time high of over 92,000, new infections have been slowly declining. On 21 December, it went down to about 90,629 from 91,207. Hunter suggests that this could be a sign that this ginormous wave has reached its peak. He told Mail Online:
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.
Passing the peak
If the Omicron variant was circulating at the same strength and speed as in the earlier weeks, Hunter says that we would be reporting over 200,000 cases by now. He added:
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.
But the fact it has been around 91,000 raises the point that it might actually have peaked.
Last week, it was revealed by the Evening Standard, that Professor Chris Whitty—England’s chief medical officer—believed that the Omicron variant will hit the peak faster than previously dominant variants. He told the Commons Health and Social Care Committee:
It will probably peak really quite fast and my anticipation is it may come down faster than previous peaks, but I wouldn’t want to say that for sure.