There are signs that the latest wave of Covid infections may have peaked in children and younger adults, according to scientists tracking the outbreak.
But rates in those older groups most vulnerable to severe disease are continuing to increase in England.
Millions of Britons could need Covid boosters every six months for the foreseeable future, a health boss hinted today.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), suggested the most vulnerable ‘relevant groups’ in society will still need regular top-up jabs.
Serco has won a £212m ($278m) contract for disease testing and contract tracing from the UK Health Security Agency, the organisations set up to replace the controversial NHS Test & Trace and doomed Public Health England.
In a contract initially set to last two years, the tech and public sector outsourcing provider will be expected to support services in the country including positive case tracing, contact tracing, isolation follow-up, test enquiries, and test bookings.
The latest data published by the UK Health Security Agency confirms fully vaccinated individuals in England are up to 3.2 times more likely to die of Covid-19 than unvaccinated individuals based on Covid-19 death-rates per 100,000 population.
Up to a third of people who tested positive for coronavirus by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests were not contagious and did not need to self-isolate, a new study suggests.
Research led by academics from the University of Oxford found that many laboratories are setting the positivity bar very low, meaning they are picking up people who are “a danger to no one”.
…However, Freedom of Information requests made by members of the public and compiled by the University of Oxford show that NHS trusts are using vastly different cut-off thresholds, with little regulation from the Government. Some are as low as 25, while others are as high as 45.
The figures also show that between 23 and 37 per cent of people who were told they were positive had a cycle threshold value above 30. For one in 20, it was higher than 40.
Daily reported Covid death figures are too high because people are dying from conditions unrelated to the virus after testing positive, Sajid Javid has admitted.
On Wednesday, there were 359 deaths reported in Britain, but the Health Secretary said that “many” people were being included in the count who “would not have necessarily died of Covid”.
His comments came after death data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a large discrepancy in weekly death registrations compared to the figures released on the Government dashboard.
For the week ending Jan 7, the UK Health Security Agency reported 1,282 deaths of people who had died within 28 days of testing positive for coronavirus.
However, ONS data show there were just 992 death registrations with Covid mentioned on the death certificate in that week.
EXCLUSIVE: UKHSA data shows infections are dropping in 96% of the country’s nearly 7,000 neighbourhoods
Parts of Castle Point, Shropshire and Bexley have seen infections fall by more than 70% week-on-week
And MailOnline analysis shows Omicron wave deaths were seven times lower than the peak last winter
Official figures show half as many Covid patients were in hospital at one time compared to the Alpha peak
And 4.5 times fewer patients were moved to critical care beds during the latest wave compared to last winter
Coronavirus cases are now falling in virtually every area of England, official figures show as the Omicron wave continues to collapse with deaths six times lower than in the second wave.
Some 6,519 out of 6,790 neighbourhoods (96 per cent) around the country recorded a fall in infections in the week to January 11, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Covid should now be treated as an endemic virus similar to flu, and ministers should end mass-vaccination after the booster campaign, the former chairman of the UK’s vaccine taskforce has said.
With health chiefs and senior Tories also lobbying for a post-pandemic plan for a straining NHS, Dr Clive Dix called for a major rethink of the UK’s Covid strategy, in effect reversing the approach of the last two years and returning to a “new normality”.
“We need to analyse whether we use the current booster campaign to ensure the vulnerable are protected, if this is seen to be necessary,” he said. “Mass population-based vaccination in the UK should now end.”
One of Britain’s most senior health advisers has been accused of disseminating “dodgy data” that inflated the potential risk of omicron.
Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), is understood to have been the source of a contested claim by Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, that there is typically a 17-day lag between patients becoming infected and requiring hospitalisation.
However, independent experts pointed to Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, which suggested an average delay of nine or 10 days.
The Prime Minister has talked of giving Whitty a knighthood — but after that reckless and irresponsible performance, the Chief Medical Officer deserves the boot.
At a stroke, he inflicted spectacular damage on our economy, particularly the hospitality sector which makes over a quarter of its profits in this period, and which has already taken a termendous battering during the pandemic.
…The irony is that if the most lurid forecasts of the lockdown addicts are realised, with the pandemic reaching every household, then all those oppressive measures they cherish most — such as social distancing, bans on large gatherings, venue closures and vaccine passports — will be largely useless.
…And in fact it would be worse than meaningless: it would be counter-productive. Lockdown directly undermines the fight against the virus by preventing the spread of naturally acquired Covid immunity in the population.
For months the British public have been deceived with tales that there are just 5 million people in the United Kingdom who have refused to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine. But today we can reveal that this is a lie.
It is a complete fabrication that has no doubt been used to make those who have refused the jab feel as if they are part of a minority, because an official UK Government report proves that in England alone there are approximately 23.5 million people who have not had a single dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The UK Government’s handling of what Boris Johnson warned will be a ‘tidal wave’ of Omicron infections verges on hysteria.
With predictions of one million cases by the end of the month and concerns about the NHS being overwhelmed with up to 10,000 hospitalisations per day, I gather there is talk of Christmas again being cancelled and a possible New Year lockdown.
Yet you only have to look at the picture in South Africa, where the world’s first known cases of Omicron were spotted, to realise this reaction is out of all proportion to the risks posed by this variant.
And I should know — because I am the doctor who first raised the alarm about Omicron back in November.
Data on confirmed Covid cases in England show how the Omicron variant is already taking hold in the country
Proportion of confirmed positive tests that didn’t detect the spike protein increased from 0.1% to 0.3%
One scientist said it equates around 60 more cases with hallmark than usual, suggesting Omicron infections
Comes as R rate spirals from less than one to 3.5 in South Africa’s Omicron epicentre Gauteng province
Lead UK epidemiologist says Omicron infections likely appear mild because of immunity from past infections
WHO officials suggested on Thursday that Covid cases were milder in those who caught the Omicron strain
The boss of the drugmaker Moderna has warned that Covid-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant in comments that have added to uncertainty about its impact and unsettled financial markets.
“There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level we had with Delta,” Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to … are like, ‘this is not going to be good’.”
The £37billion Test and Trace scheme is already being dismantled – despite fears of a devastating winter Covid crisis.
A leaked dossier has laid bare plans to axe the shambolic system in 2022. But a major step in winding it down will come next week.
The Sunday Mirror understands the contact tracing system run by Sitel and Serco will be wound up early over crippling costs.
Up to 10,000 contact tracers and call handlers were last week told their jobs were being axed, insiders said.
In briefings by managers, teams were told there was “no money left”.
In August, Public Health England released data which shows that vaccination does not appreciably guard against Covid infection and transmission and protection worked out at around 17 per cent for the over-fifties. As I observed then, this would mean the vaxxed and unvaxxed pose a comparable danger to each other. All Covid apartheid schemes are therefore insensible.
Fresher information has fortified this conclusion of the summer. In every age group over 30 in the UK, the rates of Covid infection per 100,000 are now higher among the vaxxed than the unvaxxed. Indeed, in the cohorts aged between 40 and 79, infection rates among the vaccinated are more than twice as high as among the unvaccinated. PHE’s fruitlessly rechristened body, the UK Health Security Agency, frantically clarifies that the data ‘should not be used to estimate vaccine effectiveness’, a caveat which I include for the sake of accuracy. But the differences in the infection rates are drastic enough for you to draw your own conclusions.
Covid may no longer be the most “significant” threat to health, Dr Jenny Harries has said.
The chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency said today that Covid was possibly no more dangerous than flu, as she warned that there would be a lower immunity to the illness this year.
She said: “It is important to remember that for an average flu season it’s about 11,000 deaths a year, it’s somewhere between four (thousand) to 22,000 over the last four to five years.
This is the first instalment of my three-part investigative report on the Chinese-made Innova lateral flow test. Vast sums of UK taxpayers’ money have been paid to a California start-up for tests that have failed to stand up to scrutiny.
…Innova Medical Group, the company benefiting from the UK Government’s huge testing contract, is owned by the private equity group Pasaca Capital which was founded by a Chinese investment banker, the enigmatic Dr Charles Huang, in 2017. It has been revealed to be the single largest recipient of the Department of Health’s Covid contracts after signing a £496million deal to supply LFTs last year. An earlier contract with Innova cost the taxpayer £107million.
According to the UK Government, as of 27 March 2021, 126,515 people have died as a result of contracting Covid-19, and an additional 21,610 people have died with COVID-19 on their death certificates.
The government alleges, therefore, that a total of 148,125 people in the UK have died as a result of COVID-19. As we shall see, this claim is not credible.