Is the Omicron variant spreading more quickly?

With currently 437 cases confirmed of the Omicron variant in the UK, Number 10 has suggested that the new variant is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

After an update given in parliament on Tuesday, the PM’s spokesperson stated that the Prime Minister has concluded that it was too early to truly understand the characteristics of Omicron, the level of transmissibility, and the effectiveness of the vaccine.

It is was not discussed whether the government’s ‘plan B’ for winter should be introduced to relieve inevitable mounting pressure on the NHS as cases begin to soar again.

First identified in South Africa, Omicron is the most mutated variant of Covid 19 to date. There is speculation that this variant may be evading some protection given by vaccines and previous infection. However, without definitive proof, it is impossible to declare this information as fact and people are advised to keep up to date with vaccines and booster jabs.

Although there have been over 400 confirmed cases of Omicron experts believe the actual number of infections could be more than five times this number as only a small percentage of positive tests are sent to labs to check for variant strains of Covid 19.

With the data suggesting that Omicron cases are doubling every three days, meaning 1000 new cases a day, quickly rises to 100,000 new cases a day over a month.

With this in mind, the Prime Minister has urged people to get their vaccinations and booster jabs as quickly as possible to help stop the spread over the winter months.

Keeping the pressure off the NHS has never been more important, and without having a definitive answer as to why Omicron is more transmissible it hard to explain what this may mean for those who develop a serious illness.

You would however expect vaccinated people to display milder symptoms, thus not needing to enter hospital. But if new cases of the omicron variant double, the pressure will still be on the NHS.

The Wales health minister has speculated a peak in cases in January and is expecting a significant rise in Omicron cases over the holiday period.

In Scotland, Covid rules are reviewed daily with staff being encouraged to work from home were possible until the new year.

Sammy Wilson

Sammy Wilson is a writer and journalist based in the UK. She graduated from university of De Montfort University. She is a freelance writer working with a range of clients writing about UK politics and social news.