London – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that there is “evidence” that the new variant identified in the United Kingdom of the coronavirus “is associated with a higher level of mortality”, in addition to being more contagious.
Johnson explained in a press conference that due to the impact of this new variant, the British public health system (NHS) is “under increased pressure”, although he added that the vaccines that are being administered in the United Kingdom seem to be effective against both strains (the original and the British) in the opinion of scientists.
“We have been informed that in addition to expanding more rapidly, it now also appears that there is some evidence that the new variant, identified in London and the South East, could be associated with a higher level of mortality,” said the British prime minister.
Boris added that the 38,562 British hospitalized patients currently for coronavirus is a figure 78% higher than the peak recorded in the first wave, in April.
The British Ministry of Health announced on Friday that in the last 24 hours there had been 1,401 new deaths caused by the disease.
For his part, the government’s main scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, pointed out that the British variant is between 30% and 70% more contagious than the original, although why is still unknown.
Similarly, the scientist assured that there is evidence that this variant carries a greater risk of death than the original, although he clarified that the “evidence is not yet strong.”
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In fact, this higher mortality has not been detected among those admitted to hospitals, but it has been detected in the total of positive cases detected.
Vallance gave the example of the male population in 60: with the old variant, 10 out of every 1,000 infected would die. With the British strain, that number could rise to 13 or 14.
In spite of everything, he insisted once again that there is “a lot of uncertainty” about it, although there are also increasing signs that the vaccines are effective with the new variant.
There are more doubts about the efficacy of existing vaccines with the strains identified in South Africa and Brazil, Vallance acknowledged.