Covid-19: ‘concerning’ view of omicron rise in north-east and north-west England

An expert has said the North East and North West of England are seeing “concerning” rates of the Omicron variant, amid concerns over healthcare workers and increased hospitalizations.

igures showed that three of the five UK regions with a week-on-week increase in COVID case rates are Middlesbrough (from 748.8 to 2,651.4), Copeland (1,731.3 to 3,525.8) and Redcar & Cleveland (from 846.8 to 2,564.3).

Dr Mike Tildesley from the University of Warwick and member of the Scientific Epidemic Influenza Modeling Group (SPI-M) highlighted these areas as areas of concern, along with the Midlands.

He said cases in London are “slowing down”, but scientists need two weeks to see if this continues.


Hospital admissions are ‘concerned’ in the North East and North West (Victoria Jones/PA)

Dr Tildesley told Times Radio on Saturday: “Most other parts of the country are about two to three weeks behind where London is in its pandemic profile.

“Particularly relating to the North East and the North West – if you look at the hospital admissions in those two areas that they’re going up, the Midlands also, where I live, it’s also a little concerning, so it’s a concern. subject to.

“On the slightly more positive side, so it doesn’t sound all doom and gloom, what we’re seeing from hospital admissions is that the length of hospital stay is shorter on average, which is good news, symptoms are less visible. The Deta is a bit lighter, so that’s what we are seeing consistently with the Omicron variant.”

In the Midlands, the leaders of Northamptonshire on Friday announced a system-wide major event due to COVID-19.

The Northamptonshire Local Resilience Forum, which is made up of NHS organisations, local authorities, the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and Northamptonshire Police, issued the alert due to “increasing demand on services and staffing levels”.

However, Dr Tildesley said that Omicron is probably the “first ray of light” that has ensured that COVID-19 is as endemic and easy to live as the common cold.

He said: “What may happen in the future is that you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and eventually, in the long term, what happens is that COVID becomes endemic and you have There is a less severe version. It is similar to the common cold that we have been living with for many years.

“We’re not quite there yet, but possibly Omicron is the first ray of light out there that suggests it could be in the long term. It is, of course, much more permeable than Delta, which is related to , but much less serious.

“Hopefully, as we head to spring and we see Omicron’s back, we can have more of an interconnectedness of living with COVID as an endemic disease and protecting the vulnerable.

“Any type that emerges that is less severe, ultimately, in the long term, that’s where we want to be.”

It comes as the armed forces have stepped in to fill a staffing crisis in the NHS caused by the rapid spread of the variant.

Figures from NHS England show that 39,142 NHS staff in hospital trusts in England were absent for Covid-19 reasons on 2 January, up 59% over the previous week (24,632) and more than tripled (12,508) at the beginning of December.


(PA Graphics)

According to the Health Service Journal (HSJ), employee absenteeism for any reason, including COVID-19, can amount to up to 120,000 across the NHS, including mental health trusts and other areas.

In all, about 9,300 armed forces are available on standby.

Along with staff shortage, hospitals are also facing the highest number of admissions from the coronavirus since last February.

Government figures show that a total of 18,454 people were in hospital with Covid-19 in the UK as of 6 January.

This is up 40% week on week and the highest number since 18 February 2021.

During the second wave of the coronavirus, the number reached 39,254 on 18 January 2021.

The Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization (JCVI) has advised the government against giving a second booster dose, or fourth jab, to care home residents and people over the age of 80, as figures show it may increase hospital admissions. 90% effective against. Experts are encouraging the unvaccinated people to come forward for their jobs, while prioritizing the rollout of the first booster dose.


The booster jab is 90% effective against hospital admissions (Andrew Milligan / PA)

Asked on Times Radio whether jabs would be needed every year, Professor Adam Finn, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Bristol and a member of the JCVI, said: “I think there is a lot of potential.

“And I think you know, what we’ve got at the moment, vaccines are great in terms of their ability to prevent serious disease with existing forms.

“But as we’ve seen protection doesn’t last that long, and it doesn’t cross-protect when new variants come out. That’s why we need to keep improving the available vaccines.”

“And if you want, we need to keep adjusting what we’re doing in the face of the events ahead, so it’s a very open question as to what we’ll do.

“But I think we will have access to vaccines against coronavirus in the future. Yes sure. ,