Professor Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College team even produced a study, late in December, that managed to conclude there was ‘no evidence’ that Omicron was milder than Delta — based on the same theory that the differences in outcome could be entirely down to immunity rather than intrinsic to the virus. Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty, the UK’s medical and scientific leaders, were persuaded and lobbied the Government for additional restrictions before Christmas based on the same apparent uncertainty.
And yet, once again, it turns out that the obvious was true after all.
Now that the cases have peaked in London (since 23rdDecember in fact) and the hospital variables are in decline, it is possible to compare peak levels between London and Gauteng province in South Africa, where the Omicron wave began. There are very real differences between the two cities: Gauteng has relatively high prior infection levels and low vaccination rates, while London has lower prior infection rates and high vaccination rates. Gauteng has a younger population compared to London. Despite all this, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) dropped 5-7-fold in both areas between Delta and Omicron.