Omicron Wave of COVID-19 Has Peaked in UK: Study

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The Omicron wave of COVID-19 has peaked in the UK and cases are starting to decrease in all age groups and in almost all regions in the country, a British scientist said on Jan. 13.

Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and the lead scientist on the ZOE COVID Study app, said data suggests the Omicron wave has peaked, with hospitalisation, deaths, and early data on the severity of the Omicron variant all “looking positive.”

He said COVID-19 symptoms are now “for the first time this winter more common than colds and flu and are indistinguishable.”

According to data from the ZOE COVID Study, 52.5 percent of people experiencing new cold-like symptoms are likely to have symptomatic COVID-19, an increase from last week’s 51.3 percent.

According to ZOE data, there are currently 183,364 new daily symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the UK on average, a clear decrease of 12 percent from 208,471 reported last week.

Among people who have received at least two vaccine doses, there are currently 83,699 new daily symptomatic cases, a decrease of 11 percent from 93,540 new daily cases reported last week.

The study found that cases are dropping in all regions apart from the northeast, but even there the increase is already slowing and should start dropping soon.

New daily symptomatic cases are also going down in all age groups, with cases among the over-75s plateauing at low levels.

Spector said this is a “reassuring sign” that the more vulnerable group has been spared from the worst of the Omicron wave.

He said he does not expect these rates to go down to zero, but he thinks Omicron “will probably continue to circulate at manageable levels in the population until late spring.”

Some scientists are already predicting COVID-19 will soon become endemic.

Professor David Heymann, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said on Jan. 11 that the UK has a high level of population immunity and is probably “the closest to any country of being out of the pandemic if it isn’t already out of the pandemic and having the disease as endemic.”

Clive Dix, former chairman of Britain’s vaccine taskforce, said over the weekend that mass vaccination against COVID-19 should come to an end and the UK should focus on managing it as an endemic disease like flu.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, also said on Dec. 28 that COVID-19 will become “just another cause of the common cold.”

Alexander Zhang

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