Covid-19 hospital admissions among adults in England began to decline, according to official NHS data, giving rise to hopes that the health service could withstand the wave of Omicron variant infections, despite the government calling for further restrictions resisted.
The rolling seven-day average of Covid surveys has dropped in recent days in seven of England’s eight NHS regions, with only the North East and Yorkshire continuing to climb, albeit at a slowing pace. There has been an average of 2,016 new Covid patients in England’s hospitals over the past week, down from a peak of 2,041 on 4 January.
Case numbers are falling sharply across England, with the seven-day average down 12 percent from its Omicron peak from 157,097 on January 4 to 138,029. All age groups of 20 years and older record declining case rates, although rates are rising among children.
The improved trends are reflected in a growing mood of optimism among Whitehall officials. One of the government insiders told the Financial Times on Monday that “everything seems to be going in the right direction”, adding that Plan B measures, including the work-from-home order and vaccine passports for large event venues, may not need to be renewed on January 26th.
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of NHS Confederation, which represents organizations across the healthcare sector, said data indicated that Covid-related hospital pressure “could look much better in a few weeks”.
However, he added: “It seems like we know a bit about the peak, but we do not know much about the other side of the mountain”, whether it “will be a sharp drop or a slow drop”.
“Clearly the slower the decline, the harder it is going to be for the NHS to do what it wants to do, that is to focus on the backlog that has built up over the last two years,” he added.
London hospitals saw the sharpest drop in Covid admissions. The current average of 334 recordings per day is 20 percent lower from the high of 416 on New Year’s Eve.
Although hospital numbers are stabilizing, Covid deaths have risen in recent weeks, with the seven-day average across the UK climbing to 144 on January 6, more than 50 per cent in the past two weeks, but still far less than the record of 1,169 set in January 2021.
“I’m not sure we are necessarily still at the peak of hospitalizations. . . but I do not think it will get much worse, ”says John Edmunds, professor of infectious modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
However, he warned that getting rid of Plan B measures, with people returning to work, and schools and universities returning, could have an “inflationary impact on the epidemic”.
“We can have a complicated peak that bumps around a bit, which we saw with Delta,” Edmunds explained. “[The Omicron wave] can stretch a little longer than we expect, as I think distribution among children can stretch it longer. We had six months of Impact due to a large number of infections in schools. ”
Earlier on Tuesday, Prof David Heymann, the former chairperson of Public Health England and a leading fellow at Chatham House’s Center for Global Health Security, told an event hosted by the brainstorming session that the UK “is one of the highest levels of population immunity. ”From any country, with more than 95 percent antibody prevalence, and as a result“ is probably one of the closest to having the virus as endemic ”.