U.K.’s Boris Johnson: ‘Some Evidence’ That New COVID-19 Variant ‘May Be Associated With A Higher Degree Of Mortality’
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson speaks during a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street after a string of countries banned travellers and all but unaccompanied freight arriving from the UK, due to the rapid spread of a new, more-infectious coronavirus strain on December 21, 2020 in London, England. Countries around the world closed their borders to Britain on Monday in a race to contain a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus as the European Union neared approval of its first jab for the bloc's vaccination campaign. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson held a crisis meeting about the situation Monday, with particular concern about the disruption of goods from France, which imposed a 48-hour blockade on people and lorries crossing the English Channel.
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According to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, early evidence seems to suggest that the new COVID-19 variant first identified in the South East of England “may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”

The Prime Minister also stated that both vaccines being used in the United Kingdom — one from Pfizer/BioNTech and another from AstraZeneca — were effective against the faster-spreading variant.

“We have been informed today, in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears that there is some evidence that the new variant — the variant that was first identified in London and the South East — may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” Johnson said during a press conference.

Chief Scientific Adviser, Patrick Vallance, added that, while data from hospitals suggests that there is no increase in mortality, data from those who have tested positive indicates otherwise.

“When we look at data from hospitals — so patients who are in hospital with the virus — the outcomes for those with the original virus or the new variant look the same. So there’s no real evidence of an increase in mortality for those in hospitals,” Vallance said.

“However, when data are looked at in terms of those who’ve been tested positive — so anyone who’s tested positive — there is evidence that there’s an increased risk for those who have the new variant compared to the old virus.”

Vallance clarified that the evidence “is not yet strong” and that it is based on “a series of different bits of information.”

This new variant has already been detected in other countries across the world, including the United States. According to The Hill, “A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week warned that the strain could become more dominant in the U.S. by mid-March.”

In December, when the new variant was first discovered, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio questioned why flights from the United Kingdom were still permitted to land. On Christmas Day, the CDC issued an orderrequiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test for all air passengers arriving from the United Kingdom.”

Despite Trump calling for “an end to the ban on travelers from Europe and Brazil,” incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded on January 18 that the Biden administration would likely reverse such a decision.

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