First Omicron variant death reported in UK, says Boris Johnson
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said at least one person infected with Omicron has died in the country. "Sadly, at least one patient has been confirmed to have died with Omicron," Johnson told reporters, according to Agence France-Presse. Omicron is a new coronavirus variant first detected in southern Africa. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- This is the first confirmed death due to the Omicron variant around the world.
- It is said to be the most heavily mutated strain of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 so far.
- Early data suggest it spreads fast but causes a milder illness though further studies are ongoing.
- Cases have been detected in over 60 countries in less than a month after its emergence.
'Recognize the sheer pace of Omicron'
The British PM stated people should set aside the idea that Omicron is a milder strain. "I think that's something we need to set on one side and just recognize the sheer pace at which it accelerates through the population," he said at a vaccination clinic. He urged people to get their booster shots calling it "the best thing we can do."
Omicron 'tidal wave' is coming: Johnson
On Monday, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said 10 people were hospitalized with Omicron across England. The country has accelerated its booster dose campaign after early data analysis suggested two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are not enough to protect from the strain. On Sunday, Johnson had warned of a possible "tidal wave" of Omicron infections.
75K Omicron deaths in UK by April: Study
Meanwhile, a new study has predicted close to 75,000 deaths due to Omicron in the UK by April 2022. The country has already recorded more than 3,000 Omicron cases registering a 65% one-day surge on Sunday.