Omicron ‘perhaps the most significant threat’ since the start of the pandemic, says UK chief medical officer

A sign warning people to stay away from each other due to Covid-19 is seen on July 29, 2021 in Mevagissey, UK.

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LONDON – Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK’s Health Security Service, has issued a stark warning about the threat the new severe mutated Covid-19 omicron variant poses to the country.

Harries said the new strain of virus is “probably the most significant threat” since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

She told a committee of British lawmakers on Wednesday: “I’m sure the numbers that we’re seeing on the data for the next few days, for example, will be quite staggering compared to the growth rate. which we have seen in the cases for the previous variants. .

“The real potential risk here – and I stress that because we’re still learning so much about the variant – has to do with its severity, its clinical severity, and therefore whether those cases turn into serious illness, hospitalization and death, she added.

Her comments come just before the UK reports a record number of new Covid-19 cases daily. on Wednesday, with 78,610 in the last 24 hours.

This was up from 59,610 cases a day earlier and surpassed the previous high of 68,053 cases reported on January 8.

It highlights the dramatic rise in infections the country is seeing ahead of the holiday season with the omicron variant expected to quickly become the dominant strain.

Long queues have been seen outside vaccination centers in many UK cities and towns with the government stepping up a ramp-up to try to get as many people as possible with a third dose of the vaccine. people better.

While mortality remains at the current low level and early reports suggest that the omicron variant may not be more severe than the other. Covid Health experts have repeatedly warned that the overwhelming number of infections could lead to growing deaths and overwhelmed healthcare systems.

Harries also said on Wednesday: “We don’t know what’s going to happen. But for now, the signs are that it could be as big or even bigger than the previous wave at this time last year. , we’re preparing for that.” Omicron ‘perhaps the most significant threat’ since the start of the pandemic, says UK chief medical officer

Ryan Perry

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