Rapid infection rate of omicron Covid variant is causing concern, as UK braces for 1 million cases. The increase in omicron cases in the U.K. is on such steep trajectory that the country’s health security agency has issued a stark warning. Omicron cases are doubling every 2-3 days in the country. “The omicron data is enormously worrying,” immunologist Danny Altmann told CNBC, pointing to the U.K’s 2.5-day doubling time of cases. The rise of omicron Covid cases in the U.K. is on such steep trajectory that the country has been told to brace for one million cases by the end of the month. The UK Health Security Agency said Wednesday that omicron is displaying a significant growth advantage over the delta variant, “meaning that it is likely to outcompete delta in the U.K. and become the dominant variant.”
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This assessment is based on analysis of U.K. data showing increased household transmission risk, increased secondary attack rates (the chance of each case infecting another individual) and increased growth rates compared to delta, the UKHSA said. If the growth rate and doubling time continue at the rate we have seen in the last 2 weeks, we expect to see at least 50% of coronavirus cases to be caused by omicron variant in the next 2 to 4 weeks,” it said in a statement. Currently, the U.K. has recorded 568 confirmed cases of the variant, but the U.K.’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid told British lawmakers Wednesday evening that “we know that the actual number of infections will be significantly higher.” “The UK Health Security Agency estimates that the [current] number of infections will be around 20 times higher than the number of confirmed cases and so the number of infections is closer to 10,000,” he said.