DAILY Covid cases have dropped 45 per cent in a week in further signs the Omicron outbreak is on the way out.
A further 120,821 infections were announced this afternoon by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), compared with a record high of 218,724 reported seven days ago.
The January 4 data included extra cases and death that went unreported from Northern Ireland and Wales over the New Year bank holiday.
But today’s figures still mark a huge drop in case numbers week-on-week, indicating the country could be moving past the peak.
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 and protect the NHS.
Last week Professor Neil Ferguson predicted cases would begin to fall this week.
There had been a steady drop in infections for five days running until yesterday, when a slightly higher figure was reported, likely due to the weekend effect.
Deaths, however, have been increasing – with some 379 deaths reported by today compared to 49 last Tuesday.
The number of fatalities over the past seven days (1,660) is 81 per cent higher than the week prior.
Upticks in deaths and hospital patients always lags behind a surge in cases.
The number of deaths this winter has not yet come near the peak of previous waves despite a huge surge in Omicron cases over the festive period.
But today’s death figure is the highest since February 2021, as are hospital inpatients.
A total of 19,828 people were in hospital in the UK with Covid as of January 10, up 21 per cent in one week.
It is also just over half the peak recorded during the second wave of coronavirus.
Admissions are showing early signs of stabilising, with a three per cent drop week-on-week.
The NHS today announced that more than 30 million boosters have now been reported in England.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and Deputy for the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said “almost eight in 10 eligible adults” are now boosted.
She said: “If you haven’t yet had your first, second or booster dose, please do come forward…
“We know this provides the best protection from coronavirus and trusted healthcare professionals are on hand to answer any questions you may have.”
A total of 149,495 booster and third doses of Covid vaccine were logged on Monday across the UK, new figures show.
More than 35.8 million booster and third doses have now been delivered in the UK, with 1.4 million in the past seven days.
The Covid dashboard says 62.3 per cent of all adults in the UK have now had their life-saving booster or third dose.
PATH OUT OF THE PANDEMIC
It comes as an expert has said the UK is the closest of any country in the northern hemisphere to exiting the Covid-19 pandemic.
Professor David Heymann, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), suggested in a Chatham House online briefing that the UK was seeing the disease become endemic.
He said: “In general, now, the countries that we know best in the northern hemisphere have varying stages of the pandemic.
“And probably, in the UK, it’s the closest to any country of being out of the pandemic if it isn’t already out of the pandemic and having the disease as endemic as the other four coronaviruses.”
But while numbers are dropping, hospitals and emergency services have struggled with staff absences due to sickness and the rise in infections.
A number of trusts have declared “critical incidents” amid staff shortages and beds filling up.
But ministers have said they expect this phase to be short lived, with enough staff still on hand.
A hospital trust in the south east was the latest to postpone some non-urgent operations and redeploy staff due to pressures.
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex) faces “unprecedented delays” in discharging patients as well as high numbers of staff off with the virus.
Boris Johnson insisted everything possible is being done to make sure that the people most likely to get ill are getting vaccinated, as he again urged everyone to come forward and get jabbed now.