U.K. reports first omicron death
Londoners waited for hours outside a hospital by the River Thames to get COVID-19 vaccines on Monday morning. The line stretched across Westminster Bridge toward Parliament, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the first death from the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Johnson moved up the booster timeline by a month in response. Everyone 18 and up will have access to a booster shot by Dec. 31. The health secretary expects omicron to oust delta as the dominant strain in the country by Wednesday. Of the 10 omicron cases currently hospitalized, the majority were already vaccinated.
What do we know about omicron? The World Health Organization warned that limited data does not give a full picture of the new strain that South Africa reported in late November. The U.K. Health Security Agency said vaccines appear to be less effective against it. Pfizer said its booster doses increased antibodies by 25-fold. According to South African doctors, so far the variant does not appear to cause severe infection.
Dig deeper: Read medical correspondent Charles Horton’s article in WORLD Magazine on whether herd immunity from COVID-19 is possible.
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