UK Covid-19 variant ‘may be more deadly’: Johnson
Published: 11:42 AM, 23 January 2021
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson; Photo: Collected
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said early evidence suggests the variant of coronavirus that emerged in the country may be more deadly.
“Besides spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant – the variant that was first identified in London and the southeast – may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” he told at a press briefing at Downing Street on Friday (Saturday local time).
He said the impact of this new variant means the National Health Service (NHS) is under such intense pressure.
Johnson, however, optimist that the vaccines are still expected to work although remains huge uncertainty around the numbers.
He made the remarks after the new data from mathematicians showed that the new Covid-19 variant has already spread widely across the UK, increasing the number of virus cases and deaths.
However, UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance described the data so far as “not yet strong”.
“I want to stress that there’s a lot of uncertainty around these numbers and we need more work to get a precise handle on it, but it obviously is a concern that this has an increase in mortality as well as an increase in transmissibility,” he said. - reports BBC.
Meanwhile, previous data suggested that the new variant spreads between 30 percent and 70 percent faster than others, and there are hints it is about 30 percent more deadly.
The new variant was first detected in Kent in September. It is now the most common form of the virus in England and Northern Ireland and has spread to more than 50 other countries.
The Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are both expected to work against the variant that emerged in the UK.