The British variant of the coronavirus may actually be more deadly than the original, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today.
"There is some evidence that the new variant may be associated with a higher degree of mortality,” Johnson said at a news conference Friday according to Sky News. He added that “All current evidence continues to show that the current vaccines remain effective against the old coronavirus variant and this new one.”
When scientists first isolated the UK variant, they said it was 70% more contagious, but no more deadly, but as more cases emerge, researchers are revising their opinion on the variant's danger.
The total number of COVID-19 infections in Los Angeles County since the outbreak started has just topped one million, and on January 17 health officials reported the county's first confirmed cases of the UK variant.
“The presence of the U.K. variant in Los Angeles County is troubling, as our health care system is already severely strained with more than 7,500 people currently hospitalized,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.