Omicron wave has PEAKED and ‘we’re through worst of it’, new data suggests

THE UK's Omicron peak has peaked and "we're on the other side", an expert declared this morning.

In hugely encouraging news fresh data from a Covid study shows the wave is coming down for the country.

It comes just over a month after the variant exploded in the UK in early December, as the world was alerted to its presence in South Africa.

Despite a sharp rise in cases, with infections still high, a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron is milder than other strains in the vaccinated.

The first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.

Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.

The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.

Professor Tim Spector said today: "From Zoe data, the Omicron peak has gone, a few days ago.

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"Across the country we are seeing a decrease in virtually all areas, except perhaps the North East, but that is starting to slow down.

"The Omicron wave has peaked and is going down so we're on the other side so that's great – but of course we don't know what the future holds.

"Hospitalisations, deaths and general severity is looking more positive.

"But it could still lay you out for a couple of days, you really don't want it. We need to understand more about long Covid so keep it to yourself and don't spread it."

He said the death rate is still low, around 163, which is a tenth of what it was this time last year as Alpha gripped the country.

The expert also added for the first time their data showed Covid presenting as cold symptoms is now proportionately higher than actual colds.

Prof Spector said: "If you've got cold-like symptoms you are more likely to have Covid.

"Over 50 per cent of people with a cold-like symptom have PCR proven Covid.

"It will be interesting to see if this changes when schools go back.

"It shows that the restrictions, social distancing, possibly mask wearing has had a greater effect on colds and flu than Omicron, which is even better at infecting us."

It comes as Government data showed infections are down by a third — a drop in a week from 194,747 to 129,587.

And the number of desperately ill people needing breathing support in intensive care has dipped to 672, the lowest level since mid-October.

Matthew Taylor, boss of the NHS Confederation, said some areas might still suffer but the country would soon be through the worst.

He added: “Unless things change unexpectedly, we are close to the national peak of Covid patients in hospital. This is a significant moment.”

Dr Richard Cree, an intensive care medic in Middlesbrough, said: “Numbers being admitted hasn’t risen as high as I feared.

“It’s looking increasingly likely that we may be able to ride out the Omicron wave.”

Office for National Statistics data showed UK infections rose last week to a record 4.3million.

But the rate of increase slowed and they are falling in London. There are 16,881 Covid patients in hospitals, fewer than half of last January’s peak.

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