According to official data released today, 1.7 million people had COVID on any given day last week, with one in every 20 persons infected in omicron hotspot London.
Infections climbed by 55% in the week leading up to December 19 compared to the previous week’s record of 1.1 million persons infected each day, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
And in only three days, the amount increased by 300,000 each day, with the ONS infection survey yesterday indicating that roughly 1.4 million people were infected each day in the week leading up to December 16.
The supermutant variety, according to statisticians, was responsible for the rapid increase, albeit infections have yet to double every two days, as projected by doomsday SAGE modelling.
They said that the capital was experiencing the greatest rise in the country, with 10 of the country’s worst-affected postcodes clustered inside a one-mile region between Wandsworth and Lambeth.
The average infection rate in the ten areas is 3619 cases per 100,000 persons, compared to 838 cases per 100,000 in the rest of the country.
It comes as a MailOnline investigation showed that over 900,000 individuals may be forced to spend Christmas Day alone after contracting Covid in the previous ten days.
Since December 16, when the deadline for getting out of quarantine in time passed, 766,000 persons in the UK have tested positive for the virus.
And current trends imply that 125,000 more Britons will be diagnosed today, as the ultra-infectious Omicron variety pushes case counts to new highs, with over 100,000 people testing positive every day for the past two days.
According to the ONS survey, one in 35 persons in private households in England had Covid in the week ending December 19 — up from one in 45 the week before.
This is the highest estimate for England since the ONS started calculating community infection levels in May 2020, and it equates to almost 1.5 million people.
According to the ONS, one in every 20 people in London is likely to test positive for Covid-19, the highest proportion of any region in England.
The proportion in North-east England was the lowest, at roughly one in 55.
Covid infections compatible with the Omicron form have increased in all parts of England, with significant regional heterogeneity,’ according to the ONS, with the highest rates in London and the lowest in the North East.
‘These new findings show a persistent rise in infections across most of the UK, and among all age groups,’ said Esther Sutherland, senior statistician for the Covid-19 Infection Survey.
‘The rise is especially noticeable in London, where 1 in every 20 persons received Covid-19 in the previous week, according to the most recent data.
‘The results also imply that the Omicron variant’s rapid dissemination is a major influence in recent developments.’
The latest statistics come as UKHSA chief executive Dr Jenny Harries said studies suggesting Omicron may be less likely than the Delta type of coronavirus to cause serious illness offers a ‘glimmer of Christmas hope.’
She cautioned, however, that it is too soon to downplay the threat posed by the new strain, which is still swiftly spreading across the UK.
More information is needed, according to Dr Harries, who spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the impact on aged and vulnerable patients.
‘There is a glimmer of Christmas hope in the findings that we announced yesterday, but it is far from the point when we can decrease that serious threat,’ she continued.
According to the UKHSA, people with Omicron are 31% to 45% less likely to go to A&E and 50% to 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital than people with the Delta variation.
Omicron’s quick expansion has made it the ‘dominant strain currently right across the UK,’ according to Dr Harries, who added that cases are still doubling in most parts of the country.
‘What we have now is a really fine balance between something that appears to have a decreased risk of hospitalisation — which is excellent news — but also a highly transmissible variety and one that we know evades parts of our immune defences, so it’s a very balanced situation,’ Dr Harries explained.
The UKHSA data has fueled speculation in Westminster that additional restrictions in England can be avoided after the holidays.