No sign of surge in severe Omicron cases and deaths, says expert

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said there appears to be a break between the number of cases and severe outcomes.

Nina Massey
Friday 07 January 2022 14:06
An expert has said there is no sign of a surge in severe Omicron cases and deaths (Jacob King/PA)
An expert has said there is no sign of a surge in severe Omicron cases and deaths (Jacob King/PA)

A surge in the number of severe Omicron cases and deaths is unlikely to be seen in the current wave of the pandemic, an expert has said.

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said that while there is no definite severing between the number of Covid infections and hospital admissions, there has been a break between the number of cases and severe outcomes.

The statistician told BBC News that although hospital admissions in London seem to be stable, and perhaps even declining, admissions are rising in other parts of the country.

(PA Graphics)

Sir David, chairman of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, University of Cambridge, said: “The big severing is between really severe outcomes and that there’s still no sign of a serious increase in intensive care, and ventilation, and in deaths.

“We would have expected to see that by now in London and elsewhere – so that is the really reassuring thing.

“I think we can guarantee that over this wave, as we endure the next few weeks, what we’re not going to see is a big surge in very severe outcomes.

“So it’s more a matter of managing this wave that we’re in the middle of. The crucial thing there is the disruption to the NHS and other services.”

Sir David said in December the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) warned that, if only Plan B measures were adhered to, hospital admissions would be likely to exceed 3,000 a day.

However, he said that, while daily cases are currently above 2,000, “with luck” they may not go above 3,000, and the main change has been that people have “voluntarily been very cautious about their behaviour”.

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