The science is clear: the case for more Covid restrictions is overwhelming
Analysis: Omicron studies so far have been rapid first takes, but the message for England is loud and clear
For a variant that came to light less than a month ago, the evidence for Omicron’s potential to wreak havoc has mounted at breakneck speed. What studies have emerged are rapid first takes, but the message they convey is now loud and clear: the scientific case for more restrictions is overwhelming. Without hard and swift action to curb transmission, the NHS faces a battering.
The first red flag came in late November when scientists in southern Africa shared early genomes of what became known as Omicron. Soon after they landed, Tom Peacock, a virologist at Imperial College London, highlighted the “awful” mutations that marked it out as a fast-spreading, vaccine-dodging variant. On receiving a text about Peacock’s tweet, Dr Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), conceded it filled her with gloom.