Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has warned on Sunday that the UK could have tens of thousands of Brits being hospitalised as there are now “cases in hospital with Omicron.”
He told Sky News that cases could very easily spiral out of control as scientists predicted on Saturday, should infections hit one million by the end of December.
Zahawi told Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday programme said, “One third of infections now in London are Omicron.
“We think that obviously the reported tests are indicating about 1,600 cases but of course the number of cases in the community would be a multiple of that, ten times that.
“We know that it is highly infectious so the doubling rate is between two and three days.
“Very quickly, Omicron will be the dominant variant in the United Kingdom and probably the rest of the world.
“We’ve seen this movie before; we saw it with the Kent (Alpha) variant and then Delta.”
He added, “There are cases in hospital with Omicron.
“We’ve been able to test people who are in hospital in the past two weeks, and so there is a lag to hospitalisation.
“Let’s do a mathematic exercise for a second. You get to a million infections by say the end of December – 1% is 10,000 severe infections that could be in hospital.
“Three days later it is two million, three days later it is four million. Three days beyond that it is eight million.
“That is the risk, that even if it is milder, say 50% milder than Delta, then the numbers are huge – it is a small percentage of a very large population.
“That is the big difference. The reason we are taking these proportionate, I think precautionary measures – the most significant thing, scientists tell us, is the work from home, that has the greatest impact on slowing down Omicron, hence why we’ve had to take these measures.”
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