United Kingdom reports its first known death from Omicron COVID-19 variant

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reported the first known death from the Omicron variant on Monday.

USA Today reports that this resulted in long lines at vaccination centers across the country after the news was released. However, this new variant has shown some resistance to the Covid-19 vaccines.

“I’m afraid it is now clear that two doses of vaccine are simply not enough to give the level of protection we all need,” Johnson said in his announcement. With this new variant spreading, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that a booster dose will “raise the level of protection high enough that it then does do well against the omicron.”

When pressed further, Fauci said he hoped the current booster doses would give protection for over six months, but the durability is still unclear. Additionally, he said if a yearly dose proved necessary, “then we’ll just have to deal with it when that occurs.” 

Britain is currently seeing a “tidal wave” of infections from the new variant. Health Secretary Sajid Javid reported 4,713 confirmed variant cases in the UK (CNN). Daily infections have reached nearly 200,000.

“While Omicron represents over 20% of cases in England, we’ve already seen it rise to over 44% in London and we expect it to become the dominant Covid-19 variant in the capital in the next 48 hours,” Javid told Parliament. In response, the UK is increasing its Covid-19 alert levels and accelerating the distribution of boosters.

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