The UK just recorded the highest number of new Covid infections since the pandemic began
The new Omicron variant continues to sweep across the country
The United Kingdom has recorded its highest ever number of new Covid cases in a single day, with 78,610 new cases reported on Wednesday.
The figure surpasses the previous peak in UK cases – infections that are picked up through testing – of 68,053 reported on 8 January this year.
It's as the new Omicron variant continues its rapid spread across the country.
BREAKING: A further 78,610 daily #COVID cases and 165 coronavirus-related deaths were reported on Wednesday.
Today's recorded cases are the highest of the pandemic so far.
Latest: https://t.co/kXak9AZU5H pic.twitter.com/DmSysgEbZK
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 15, 2021
The record number comes on the first day from which anyone who tests positive will have to self-isolate on Christmas Day.
Also on Wednesday, Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UKHSA, told the Commons transport committee that Omicron was "probably the most significant threat we’ve had since the start of the pandemic" and that the data expected on growth rates over the next few days "will be quite staggering compared to the rate of growth that we’ve seen in cases for previous variants."
There are already warnings that a million people could be required to isolate on Christmas Day, and that the UK could soon be recording 200,000 cases a day.
Harries said that the doubling time of the virus is shortening, so "it's doubling faster, growing faster."
When the Omicron variant first arrived in the UK in had an estimated doubling time of four to five days.
Whilst this is officially a record number of cases for the country, infection rates were almost certainly much higher in the early stages of the pandemic in March and April 2020, before mass testing was underway.
It is thought the country may have been recording as many as 100,000 cases a day at this time.
A reminder that mass testing didn't get under way in the UK until summer 2020, so today's figure for new reported cases of Covid-19 - 78,610 - can't really be compared with the early months of the pandemic, when only a small number of people were able to be tested.
— Ian Jones (@ian_a_jones) December 15, 2021
But compared to just last week, the infection rates paint a pretty stark picture.
You can compare with last week though. And that doesn't look very pretty. pic.twitter.com/eYuQaPiLrB
— Dexter Tempest 🇺🇦 (@DexterTempest) December 15, 2021
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