We have heard a lot about the pressure on the NHS due to the increase in Covid cases and staff absences. Now, new figures from NHS England show the number of employees sick from the virus in English hospitals has tripled since early December as Omicron moved in. Almost 36,000 workers (about 4%) were on leave each day during the week ending January 2. This is an increase of 41% from the previous week and triple the 11,957 absences noted at the start of the Omicron wave in the week ending December 5. Factoring in other staff sick leave, the total is 9% – almost double the norm for this time of year. Patricia Marquis, of the Royal College of Nursing, warns that the increasing absences meant the situation was “just not safe”.