The National:

ENGLAND’S chief medical officer Chris Whitty was providing key evidence on the fast-spreading Omicron variant to MPs on Thursday morning – but there was a far more important story coming in at the same time, according to the BBC.

As Whitty discussed the negative and positive scenarios facing the UK and risk of increased hospitalisations due to the variant, he was suddenly cut off by a giant “BBC News BREAKING” alert taking up the entire screen and a noise signalling an important update.

What could have possibly happened to warrant such a reaction?

The National:

According to the broadcaster, there were reports that the Queen has cancelled her pre-Christmas lunch due to Covid. Shock! Horror! Whatever will we do?

The fact that the news organisation feels that’s more important than one of the UK’s top public health experts providing information and guidance for everyday people is certainly insightful.

The presenter commented: “It’s being reported that the Queen has cancelled her tradition pre-Christmas family lunch which was due to take place next week – it’s understood that the decision was made as a precaution, suggesting that it could put too many people’s Christmas arrangements at risk if that lunch went ahead. So, very much in line with the calls that we’re hearing from the Prime Minister to socialise carefully this Christmas and with Professor Chris Whitty who we were hearing a moment ago … that we should prioritise which social events we attend.”

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Then the broadcast went back to Whitty. Hopefully viewers won’t have missed anything important …

During his session at the Commons Health and Social Care Committee, Whitty said the UK could surpass the daily peak number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

He told MPs: “The peak of just over 4500, or 4583 to be exact, people admitted at the absolute peak – it is possible because it is going to be very concentrated… even if it is milder, because it’s concentrated over a short period of time, you could end up with a higher number than that going into hospital on a single day.

“That is entirely possible. It may be less than that. But I’m just saying that is certainly possible.”

He also said he anticipates the height of the Omicron wave will fall faster than previous Covid-19 peaks.

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He told the committee: “I think what we will see with this – and I think we are seeing it in South Africa – is that the upswing will be incredibly fast, even if people are taking more cautious actions, as they are.

“That will help slow it down, but it’s still going to be very fast.

“It’ll probably therefore peak really quite fast. My anticipation is it may then come down faster than previous peaks but I wouldn’t want to say that for sure.

“I’m just saying that that is a possibility.”

That’s all interesting of course but personally, we’re just glad to have been updated on the Queen’s pre-Christmas lunch.