Tougher Covid restrictions may be needed to prevent Omicron causing anywhere between 25,000 to 75,000 deaths in England.
Experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), whom sit on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) or the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), used experimental data to look at how Omicron could transmit as we hear into 2022.
Even under the most optimistic scenario, a wave of infection is projected which could lead to a peak of more than 2,000 daily hospital admissions, with 175,000 hospital admissions and 24,700 deaths between December 1 this year and April 30, 2022 it has been reported.
The team said mask-wearing, working from home and booster jabs may not be enough to prevent this, they said.
In this scenario, bringing in control measures early in 2022 – such as restrictions on indoor hospitality, the closure of some entertainment venues and restrictions on how many people can gather in one place – would be sufficient to control the wave, reducing hospital admissions by 53,000 and deaths by 7,600.
Dr Rosanna Barnard, from LSHTM’s Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, said: “More data over the next few weeks will strengthen our knowledge on Omicron and the consequences of this on transmission in England.
“However, these early projections help guide our understanding about potential futures in a rapidly-evolving situation.
“In our most optimistic scenario, the impact of Omicron in the early part of 2022 would be reduced with mild control measures such as working from home.
“However, our most pessimistic scenario suggests that we may have to endure more stringent restrictions to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed.
“Mask-wearing, social distancing and booster jabs are vital, but may not be enough.
“It is crucial for decision-makers to consider the wider societal impact of these measures, not just the epidemiology.” She added.
This is if no additional measures or restrictions are implemented over and above the current Plan B.