BREAKING NEWS
Source: UK COVID-19 News  Dec 13, 2021  7 months ago
BREAKING! LSHTM Modeling Pessimistically Predicts That UK Could See More Than 492,000 hospitalizations And 74,800 Deaths By 30th April 2022 Due To Omicron!
BREAKING! LSHTM Modeling Pessimistically Predicts That UK Could See More Than 492,000 hospitalizations And 74,800 Deaths By 30th April 2022 Due To Omicron!
Source: UK COVID-19 News  Dec 13, 2021  7 months ago
UK COVID-19 News: A new modeling study by researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) pessimistically predicts that the United Kingdom could see more than 492,000 hospitalizations and 74,800 deaths by 30th April 2022 due to the Omicron variant!

 
The preprint study was published online and has yet to be peer-reviewed.
https://cmmid.github.io/topics/covid19/reports/omicron_england/report_11_dec_2021.pdf
 
The new modeling study suggests that the Omicron variant has the potential to cause a wave of transmission in England that could lead to higher levels of cases and hospitalizations than those seen during January 2021, if additional control measures are not taken.

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The study team used the latest experimental data on the antibody-evading characteristics of the Omicron variant to explore plausible scenarios for the immune escape of Omicron.
 
The study team selected the level of transmissibility and introduction time of Omicron to match with the growth of observed S gene target failure data in England, given the emerging evidence on immune escape. These scenarios were used to project the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 transmission into the first half of 2022 for England.
 
The study findings project a wave of COVID-19 transmission for all scenarios considered, with varying levels of infections, hospital admissions, and mortality depending on the assumptions made.
 
In the most optimistic scenario (low immune escape of Omicron and high effectiveness of boosters), a wave of infection is projected which could lead to a peak of over 2,000 daily hospital admissions, with 175,000 (95% CI: 139,000–198,000) hospitalizations and 24,700 (19,500–28,700) deaths between 1st December 2021 and 30th April 2022, if no additional control measures are implemented over and above the current "Plan B' policy in England.
 
However if in this scenario, bringing in control measures early in 2022 which are equivalent in stringency to Step 2 of the roadmap which involved restrictions on indoor hospitality, closure of some entertainment venues, and restrictions on gathering size, it would be sufficient to substantially control this wave, reducing hospitalizations by 53,000 and deaths by 7,600.
 
Alarmingly the most pessimistic scenario (high immune escape and lower effectiveness of boosters) projects a wave of infection which is likely to lead to a peak in hospital admissions around twice as high as the peak seen in January 2021, if no additional control measures are taken, with 492,000 (418,000–537,000) hospitalizations and 74,800 (63,500–82,900) deaths.
 
It is plausible that the most pessimistic scenario is expected to materialize as latest studies are already indicating that a booster shot might also fail. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-china-s-study-reveals-that-vaccine-protection-from-third-dose-might-also-be-compromised-by-omicron-variant
 
Already there are many counties reporting of individuals who have received booster shots still developing disease severity and requiring hospitalization upon contracting the Omicron variant. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-omicron-causes-severe-condition-in-man-who-was-fully-vaccinated-and-had-received-booster-shot-in-iceland-finland-finds-omicron
 
https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/omicron-is-now-in-more-than-67-countries-including-in-jordan-singapore-reports-cases-of-those-who-had-booster-shots-still-contracting-the-variant

Also, it was reported today (Monday) that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that the first British patient who had contracted the Omicron variant had died.

Considering this plausible pessimistic scenario, the study team estimates that stronger measures now may be required to keep the peak number of hospital admissions below the January 2021 peak.
 
Co-lead researcher Dr Rosanna Barnard from LSHTM's Centre for the Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID) told UK COVID-19 News, "There is a lot of uncertainty about the characteristics of Omicron, and whether Omicron in England will follow the same course as it has in South Africa. 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.”
 
She added, "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. Nobody wants to endure another lockdown, but last-resort measures may be required to protect health services if Omicron has a significant level of immune escape or otherwise increased transmissibility compared to Delta. It is crucial for decision makers to consider the wider societal impact of these measures, not just the epidemiology."
 
The study assumptions about the levels of transmissibility and immune escape of Omicron were formulated using "S' gene target failure (SGTF) data from cases in England ie these are cases that are not yet confirmed with genomic sequencing to be Omicron but thought to be highly likely to be Omicron, as the Omicron variant causes this failure but the widespread Delta variant does not.
 
In the case of the two immune escape scenarios considered, the study team estimates the Omicron variant to be between 10% less transmissible than the Delta variant to 35% more transmissible than Delta.
 
The study team accounted for the additional protection afforded by booster doses against Omicron in their scenarios. If a very high uptake of booster vaccines is achieved, then this is projected to further mitigate projected surges in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
 
The other co-lead researcher, Dr Nick Davies from CMMID added, "These are early estimates, but they do suggest that overall Omicron is outcompeting Delta rapidly by evading vaccines to a substantial degree. If current trends continue then Omicron may represent half of UK cases by the end of December. Further analysis suggests that the booster program is vital, with a counterfactual scenario with no boosters showing a peak in hospitalizations that could be as much as five times as high as the scenario with boosters."
 
The study team team say these projections are subject to considerable uncertainty, with limitations including the early nature of the data used to make predictions, uncertainty over policy decisions that will be made over the next several months, and a lack of information on the relative severity of Omicron.
 
It was also noted that due to a lack of data, the study team assumed that the Omicron has the same severity as Delta. If Omicron exhibits lower severity than Delta, this would decrease the projected number of severe outcomes in the model but again, new emerging data is pessimistically showing that this is unlikely.
 
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