In the last days of 2021, infection rates soared nationally and locally. The cause was the new Omicron variant first reported in November. Omicron seems to be milder, especially among those who have been vaccinated. Omicron was estimated to have been responsible for four in five cases across England and in Shropshire in the week to Boxing Day and for two-thirds of the cases in Telford & Wrekin. In the last few days cases have continued to surge. Infection rates are the highest we have seen during the pandemic. Fourteen in 100 people in Shropshire have tested positive in the last week. That is not a cause for panic but it is a reason for caution. There are 22 patients in the Royal Shrewsbury and Princes Royal Hospitals with Covid, a fifth of the number a year ago, reflecting the high level of vaccination and the lower health impacts of Omicron compared to earlier variants.