Seven dead with Omicron Covid variant as people in hospital with new strain soars to 85

The UK Health and Security Agency confirmed seven people have died while infected with the Omicron variant. The number of people hospitalised by the rapidly spreading strain has risen from 65 to 85

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Omicron: 10,059 confirmed new cases of variant

Seven people have now died from the Omicron variant and the number of people hospitalised with the strain has risen from 65 to 85.

The UK Health and Security Agency confirmed the death toll of the rapidly spreading mutation earlier this afternoon.

A total of 10,059 Omicron cases were reported today, which is three times more than yesterday’s 3,201.

A major incident has been declared in the capital as the variant infections rise across the UK, the BBC reports.

And the Omicron surge paired with Delta saw all Covid cases sky-rocket to 93,045, a 60 per cent increase on last week.

London has carved itself out as the hotspot for the variant – with around a quarter of cases recorded in the past day having been detected in the capital.

The infection rate in the city has also risen five-hold since Omicron was first detected, reports the Daily Mail.

Experts are currently briefing the Cabinet on the latest data.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan shared his concerns about the city’s infection rate as he noted the implementation of a major incident is a “statement of how serious things are”.

People hospitalised with the new strain have also risen from 65 to 85

He told the BBC that emergency services are already feeling the pressure as the 26,000 new cases lead to numerous staff absences.

“I’ve been meeting over the last few days, on a daily basis, colleagues across the city from the NHS to councils, from the fire service to the police – we’re incredibly concerned by the huge surge in the Omicron variant,” he said.

“The big issue we have is the number of Londoners who have this virus and this is leading to big issues in relation to staff absences and the ability of our public services to run at the optimal levels.

“I’ve taken the decision, in consultation with our partners, to declare a major incident. It’s a statement of how serious things are.”

It comes after a leading expert predicted there could be as many as 5,000 Omicron-related deaths a day this winter unless more restrictions are rolled out by the government.

The new strain is expected to quickly become the dominant coronavirus strain in Britain, with just 3,201 new cases of Omicron officially registered today – but that figure is thought to be vastly underestimated due to the time it takes to analyse positive samples.

And around one in 20 Omicron cases identified so far in England have been linked to a previous Covid infection, new data suggests.

Of 5,153 individuals identified with an Omicron infection between November 1 and December 11, 305 (5.9%) were connected to a previous confirmed infection and were at least 90 days from previously testing positive.

The findings, from the UK Health Security Agency (HSA), suggest Omicron is causing “an increase in overall reinfection rates, alongside an increase in first infections”.

One in every 20 Omicron cases in England so far have been linked to a previous Covid infection

The age range of these cases ranged from six to 68 years, while there were four people for whom Omicron was their third coronavirus infection.

The HSA also found that lateral flow (LFD) tests are as likely to detect Omicron as other variants of coronavirus.

Dr Jenny Harries, HSA’s chief executive, said: “Our data shows that LFD tests are similarly able to detect COVID-19 in individuals who have been exposed to Omicron as in those exposed to previous variants. This is very encouraging.

“As we all work to limit the high levels of transmission of this variant over the Christmas period, we are urging people to test regularly, particularly before attending social gatherings.

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