COVID is nearing its peak across England, experts have said – proving doom mongering Sage scientists wrong.
Official records show as of January 8, daily infections are starting to fall in the South East, East of England and in London.
Cases are still increasing in all other regions, but at a much slower rate than before.
It comes as a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun's Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits' arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
Sage scientists last month issued the gloomy warning up to 75,000 more Brits could die from Covid this winter – with a total of 175,000 hospital admissions between December 1 2021 and April 30, 2022.
But Prof Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia and an adviser to the WHO, said cases seem to be slowing nationwide.
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He told The Telegraph: “I think it's beginning to look quite hopeful, but we've been here in the past.
“The worst case scenarios that were being talked about before Christmas by the SAGE modellers aren't coming to pass, fortunately.
“I think the [number of hospitalisations and deaths] are going to be falling a long way below the worst case scenarios that were being talked about before Christmas.
“In England we peaked at around 3,800 – 4,000 hospitalisations a day, on average, a year ago, but we will probably peak around 2,000 this winter.”
It comes as modellers who advise the Government admitted winter deaths by the new strain would be "substantially" lower than they had anticipated, mainly because the strain is less deadly as they thought Mail Online reports.
Dr Nick Davies and his team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine built the original models assuming Omicron was equally lethal to the Delta strain.
The worst case scenarios that were being talked about before Christmas by the SAGE modellers aren't coming to pass, fortunately.
He said: "We now know that doesn’t seem to be at all the case, as people are ending up in hospital with Omicron, but they are not requiring critical care [to the same extent as with Delta]"
"The deaths number will come down very substantially [compared with original estimates]."
He added: "It’s clear that our understanding of Omicron has changed substantially in the last two weeks."
Today, new UK Covid cases dropped for the fifth day in a row, with 141,472 infections recorded today.
The number of Covid patients on ventilators in England also dropped to its lowest level since October – despite experts suggesting there may be around half a million infections a day.
And Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, the eminent statistician at the University of Cambridge, hospital admissions could stay below Sage's marker of 3,000 a day.
Meanwhile, Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s regional director for London, told Sky News London's omicron wave peaked over the new year.
He warned ONS data suggested nearly one in 10 Londoners are still infected with the virus and the “critical phase” of the pandemic is not over yet.
But Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi today said he believes Britain will be the first to put the pandemic behind us.
He said: "I hope we will be one of the first major economies to demonstrate to the world how you transition from pandemic to endemic, and then deal with this however long it remains with us, whether that's five, six, seven, 10 years."
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