Frontline medic says it's 'likely we can ride out' Omicron as figures show Teesside as Covid hotspot

New figures revealed Middlesbrough has the highest covid rate in the country with more than 140 people in hospital. Credit: PA Images

A frontline consultant at a Middlesbrough hospital says it's "looking increasingly likely" that we can "ride out the Omicron wave".

Dr Richard Cree, an intensive care consultant at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, had previously feared the number of patients being admitted would be higher due to the latest Covid-19 variant.

Writing in his blog, Dr Cree said: "Across the country, the number of people being admitted to hospital following infection remains high.

"However, the number of people being admitted hasn't risen as high as I feared it might and it may even be starting to plateau.

"I will admit that I thought things might be worse by now but I'm all too happy to be proved wrong.

"It's looking increasingly likely that we may be able to ride out the Omicron wave after all."

Dr Cree says that "doctors and nurses have been topping up their antibody levels every now due to inadvertent exposure." Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

This comes as it was revealed that Middlesbrough has the highest covid rate in the country with more than 140 people in hospital.

According to the most recent data for all local authorities, Middlesbrough had the highest covid rate in England, at 2,798 in the week leading up to January 7.

Hartlepool is ranked second with a rate of 2,546, Stockton-on-Tees is third with a rate of 2,542, and Redcar and Cleveland is fourth with a rate of 2,521.

The most recent data on the Middlesbrough Council website for the seven days leading up to January 11 shows that the rate is now 2,937 with 476 new cases on Tuesday.

However, Dr Cree says that the mildness of Omicron has led to fewer admissions to ICU, even though the transmissibility of this variant has been "remarkable".

"There is now no doubt that the Omicron variant is far less severe than its predecessors.

"In many respects, this fourth wave feels like it is due to a different virus.

"Most of the patients who have required admission to the Covid Intensive Care Unit are relatively young and unvaccinated.

"The few vaccinated patients that we are admitting have either not received a booster dose or have significant existing medical problems that cause them to be immunosuppressed.

"The fact that so many of us (ICU doctors and nurses) have been infected is a testament to Omicron's remarkable transmissibility, even in a highly immune population."