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Over 2million people hit with Covid in week up to Christmas – but boosters working to stop hospitalisations

OVER two million people were hit with Covid in the week up to Christmas, new data has revealed.

It’s the highest number of people to have the bug since 2020 and around one in 25 people in England are currently infected with the virus.

Dan Charity
Millions of people were infected with Covid-19 in the week before Christmas[/caption]

It comes as experts say that most people who catch the Omicron variant, which is now responsible for 90 per cent of cases in the UK, will suffer more cold-like symptoms.

A string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with 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.

It comes as Covid hospital admissions in England rose by 50 per cent in the week before Christmas – but a THIRD of patients went in for other health problems.

Around 33 per cent of all Covid positive people in hospital were found to have the virus as a secondary issue, fresh data showed today.

It means, while cases and admissions have risen, a large chunk of them were not serious enough to end up in hospital but ended up there for other reasons.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released this afternoon revealed that the highest rate of infections has been seen in London.

It’s thought that around one in 15 people in the capital are infected with the bug.

The lowest rate is in the North East, where one in 45 people tested positive.

Sarah Crofts, Head of Analytical Outputs for the Covid-19 Infection Survey said: “Infection levels have continued to increase across the UK, with England’s increase driven largely by London, which has the highest rate of infection seen in this survey.

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“Omicron is now the dominant variant in both England and Scotland, and has been growing rapidly in Northern Ireland and Wales. 

“We’ve also seen infections rise in all age groups, with school aged children and young adults seeing the highest rates.

“The data is changing rapidly and we continue to monitor the situation closely”.

The latest data release from the ONS comes after the NHS revealed that Covid hospital admissions have risen by 50 per cent in a week.

But around 33 per cent of all Covid positive people in hospital were found to have the virus as a secondary issue.

It means, while cases and admissions have risen, a large chunk of them were not serious enough to end up in hospital but ended up there for other reasons.

NHS England data showed on December 18 there were 709 new Covid patients in hospitals, and by December 26 the number had risen to 1,338.


But the figures also backs up expert studies showing Omicron is milder than other Covid variants, as only a small proportion have so far needed critical care.

The number of patients in critical wards in England increased by 17 in the week on from December 21, and one more person was logged as needing a ventilator – although these numbers fluctuated within those seven days.

All beds taken up with Covid patients increased by 38 per cent in the week up to December 28, but again, this includes those who didn’t go to hospital originally with the virus.

This is the key Covid data that will sway Boris Johnson’s decision on whether to slam on restrictions in the New Year.

Infection levels in the UK have risen to record heights in recent weeks, but the Government has so far resisted any more rules – trusting boosters and regular testing.

But it is the hospitalisations and the rate of increase that are the crunch numbers which could see Britain plunged one way or the other.

The PM is expected to announce next week if tighter measures will be imposed to wrestle the spread of Omicron after mulling over the fresh stats.


Mr Johnson last night promised the country is in an “incomparably better” position that last year to fight Covid.

Boosters and vaccines are one of the main reasons for this and more than three quarters of eligible adults have had their booster shot.

NHS volunteers and staff have been working around the clock to make sure everyone is vaccinated and this year, sites were even open on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

In total, over 28 million eligible people aged 18 and over received their top up jab by 30 December, as the NHS booster campaign continues at pace.

Dr Emily Lawson, head of the NHS Covid vaccination programme, said: “The fact that we have boosted more than three quarters of eligible adults in such a short space of time shows just how hard our incredible staff have been working, together with volunteers, to protect people from the virus.  

“It also shows great enthusiasm from the public, who are playing their part and helping us to protect the country – we are all on this national mission together.

“But we cannot rest on our laurels, so if you haven’t yet been boosted and are eligible, please help us by coming forward – there are hundreds of thousands of slots available – book yours today and get boosted now.”

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