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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.
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.
Yesterday, the UK’s total number of daily Covid cases sky-rocketed to 93,045 – up 60% on last week – with London carving its place as the hotspot for the Covid variant.
Around a quarter of cases recorded in the past 24 hours were in London, with the infection rate having risen fivefold since Omicron was first identified, reports the Daily Mail.
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”.
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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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.