One in 30 Londoners infected with Covid at start of 2021

The new variant is spreading around London and is much more easily transmissible

It is estimated that one in 30 people living in London were infected with COVID-19 between the dates of December 27th and January 2nd, according to ONS.

This is due to the new variant of the virus that is spreading, particularly in London, the South East and the East of England. The new variant is more easily transmissible and so more people are infected.

The statistics show how the new variant is affecting transmission rates in London and the South East compared to the rest of the country. The figure for South East England and eastern England is estimated to be one in 45.

Nationally, one in 50 people were thought to have the virus, according to the ONS.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty said that hospitalisations are “rising very rapidly and, of course, we are still in the middle of winter”. This is particularly prevalent in London where the cases are increasing at a very rapid rate. The statistics in London are significantly higher than the rest of the country, due to the new strain.

On Monday, a national lockdown was announced by Boris Johnson for the whole of England. This is to curb the increase in infections seen across the country and to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed. With the figures so high in London and the risk of the new variant spreading to other places, the national lockdown was deemed necessary by the government whilst they are in the early stages of rolling out the vaccine.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the latest lockdown was “inevitable”, and the only way to tackle the “out of control” level of Covid-19 cases.

With hundreds of new Covid-19 patients every day, hospitals are seeing the full effects of these statistics. Hospitals in London especially are seeing what the rapid rise in infections truly means, with hundreds of extremely sick patients requiring care from the NHS.

The new measures are harsh, but the statistics are staggering. With so many people infected by Covid-19, the NHS simply cannot cope unless these measures are put in place and followed by the public. Whilst a third lockdown is not ideal for anyone, it is necessary to protect the NHS until the most vulnerable can be vaccinated.

Boris Johnson has said he had “no choice” regarding the lockdown: “When the Office of National Statistics is telling us that more than two per cent of the population is now infected – that’s over one million people in England – and when today we have reported another 60,000 new cases. The number of patients in hospitals is now 40 per cent higher than the first peak in April.”