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U.K. reports highest daily cases since start of COVID as country experiences '2 epidemics on top of one another'

The U.K. on Wednesday reported 78,610 new COVID-19 cases, its highest number of daily infections since the pandemic began, BBC News reports.

The country reached its previous daily case high — 68,053 — on Jan. 8. Now, Britain is experiencing a "dramatic surge" in infections ahead of the Christmas holiday, "with the Omicron variant expected to quickly become the dominant strain," writes CNBC.

Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the British public to get their booster shot, and warned that "in some areas the doubling rate was now under two days," writes BBC.

"I'm afraid we're also seeing the inevitable increase in hospitalizations up by 10 percent nationally, week on week, and up by almost a third in London," Johnson added.

Chief Medical Officer Prof. Chris Whitty explained that the country is essentially experiencing "two epidemics on top of one another," one driven by the Omicron variant and the other by Delta, writes The Guardian.

Also on Wednesday, Dr. Jenny Harries of the U.K. Health Security Agency called the Omicron variant "probably the most significant threat" of the pandemic so far, and warned of "staggering growth" over the next few days.

So far, nearly 25 million out of 67 million Brits have received a booster shot. Read more at BBC News and The Guardian.