Following a lull in data releases over the holidays, the Prime Minister will get the most up-to-date facts and guidance before deciding on England’s restrictions.
Following a two-day break in the publication of coronavirus figures, Boris Johnson will get a thorough briefing on Monday detailing how instances, hospital admissions, and fatalities have changed since Christmas Eve.
Plan B should be carried out: This is the most likely outcome if Monday’s data reflects a clear picture of the Omicron wave.
- This option is most plausible if Monday’s report shows no significant improvement in cases or admissions, particularly London.
- Cases appear to be peaking in London but increasing elsewhere, with admissions in the city just breaking 400 on Christmas Eve.
- If Monday’s statistics are any indication, the Omicron wave is still raging across the United Kingdom, with no apparent peak in cases in London and admissions over 400.
- Although signs indicate Omicron is less likely to cause severe disease, hospitals are overwhelmed by many cases.
- The limits may only be in place for a short period to keep the NHS running until January.
- According to the administration, schools will be the last sector to close, so they should remain open even if the country is in lockdown.
He’ll be on the lookout for indicators that Omicron cases have peaked in London, the hub of the variant’s wave, and that daily hospital admissions in the city have risen to 400 on Christmas Eve, up from 386 on the previous report on December 22.
Mr. Johnson will then use this information, together with his top scientific advisers, Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance, to determine if it should impose further restrictions in England to tackle the Omicron strain, with a decision expected on Tuesday.
The possibilities in the table are shown below, with varying degrees of likelihood based on the data.
You should follow plan B:
If Monday’s data release paints a positive image of the Omicron wave, this is the most likely scenario. It might indicate that the trend is beginning to level out following several days before Christmas when UK cases were in the six digits. Prof Whitty predicted last week that, like South Africa, the UK would have a shorter, sharper rise in cases than Delta.
It may have already reached that peak in London, which is at the forefront of the Omicron wave and hence a predictor of where the rest of the country will go. With hundreds of thousands of people believed to be self-isolating due to testing positive, many people’s choice to do lateral flow tests before visiting relatives over the holidays will have helped reduce the number of cases.
It’s too early to expect a spike in hospital admissions, which typically lag cases by two weeks. However, if entries in the capital stayed below 400 on Christmas Eve, the threshold used by politicians and scientific experts to determine if further limitations are needed implies that the impact of Omicron on the NHS will be less severe than anticipated.
Plan C (Soft):
This option is most plausible if Monday’s report shows no significant improvement in cases or admissions, particularly London. Subjects appear to be peaking in London but increasing elsewhere, with entries in the city just breaking 400 on Christmas Eve.
According to the data, the NHS will continue to face significant, but not unsustainable, strain in January. Mr. Johnson chooses to toughen the recommendations rather than implement legislative limitations, fearing an even more significant Tory backlash in Parliament if he does so.
This may involve telling individuals not to mingle inside, which would cut down on transmission between families.
Plan C (Hard):
Mr. Johnson may decide that the best option is to impose legally enforced restrictions, similar to Step 2 of the roadmap in England last spring. If Monday’s data shows that the Omicron wave is still raging across the UK, with no peak in cases in London, admissions well above 400, and more deaths starting to emerge from people infected at the end of November.
Although signs indicate Omicron is less likely to cause severe disease, hospitals are overwhelmed by many cases. The limits may only be in place for a short period to keep the NHS running until January.
Private gatherings, as well as those held in restaurants and bars, maybe outlawed.
This is the least likely scenario. It would only be considered if cases began to rise exponentially after a short plateau caused by the large number of individuals testing and isolating before Christmas, and hospitals were overwhelmed.
The option is still present, just in case. Everyone would be required to stay at home except for needed purchases, and all hospitality and retail companies would close. According to the administration, schools will be the last sector to complete, so they should remain open even if the country is in lockdown.
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