There is a lot to be learnt about Omicron. We know it is spreading fast. Faster than the dominant variant Delta. We don’t yet know its health impacts, the risks of those with one, two or three doses of vaccine getting Covid-19. We don’t yet know the health impacts of Omicron, the extent it will increase hospitalisation, lead to long term health consequences and deaths.
It is very early days on Omicron. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine study that triggered today’s media statement by Daisy Cooper has yet to be peer reviewed. But if there is a single lesson from this epidemic, is that earlier planning and earlier action can improve health outcomes and save lives. That is why she is calling for Boris Johnson’s government to set out its emergency plans to Parliament in the next 72 hours.
Responding today to new analysis of the danger posed by the Omicron variant, Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP said:
This new modelling shows the real danger posed by the Omicron variant, with 25,000 people or more dying if we get this wrong.
With both Ambulance and A&E services already stretched to breaking point, we cannot afford another huge surge in hospitalisations.
The Government must act quickly and set out its emergency plans to Parliament in the next 72 hours.
It must urgently ramp up the booster programme, give frontline NHS staff the additional resources they need, guarantee financial protections for small businesses, particularly in hospitality, and ensure that everyone who needs it can access mental health support during these difficult times.
In a media release published today reporting on research that is not yet peer reviewed, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said:
New modelling… suggests the Omicron variant has the potential to cause a wave of transmission in England that could lead to higher levels of cases and hospitalisations than those seen during January 2021, if additional control measures are not taken…
Under the most optimistic scenario (low immune escape of Omicron and high effectiveness of boosters), a wave of infection is projected which could lead to a peak of over 2,000 daily hospital admissions, with 175,000… hospitalisations and 24,700… deaths between 1st December 2021 and 30th April 2022, if no additional control measures are implemented over and above the current ‘Plan B’ policy in England.
* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Friday editor of Lib Dem Voice.