Fraser Nelson Fraser Nelson

Has Omicron peaked in London?


The present best-case scenario is that Omicron peaks early in the new year and then falls just as fast as it did in South Africa. Given how much is still unknown about the variant, it’s impossible to plot any trajectory with confidence far less read a trend into a few days of data over the festive period. Overall it’s quite plausible that London, having been hit first, would face the worst effects first then turn the corner first. That’s what makes recent data here so interesting. This blog will collate the main London graphs (taken from The Spectator‘s live data hub) and they’ll be updated every day so those interested can return to the page.

First, cases. Lambeth has been the hotspot of London Covid and the data so far — as of New Year’s day — points to a pre-Christmas peak.

Zoom out to the whole city and we can see that what had been an exponential rise slowing down – but not the same decline as case numbers appeared to show by New Year’s Day in Lambeth. The latest five days are in grey because they can be revised upwards and there are other reasons not to read too much into this data now. It’s over the festive period, where Londoners tend to leave the city and data recording isn’t quite what it is during a normal working week, etc. But this will be the graph to watch:- 

Of course, the above is (in part) a reflection of how many tests are done. The ONS survey for London is perhaps the most reliable – but it’s the last to update. 

South Africa showed us that Omicron peaked first in Pretoria, then in the Gauteng province (which contains Pretoria, Johannesburg and a quarter of South Africa’s population) and then nationwide. If the same pattern were to hold here — a big if, at time of writing, we’d expect a peak in Lambeth, London and then England.

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