More than half of those infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant in England were double jabbed, health officials have said, as the number of cases detected in the UK continues to rise sharply, reports The Guardian.
Different omicron variants
There were 75 further cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant identified in England, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said on Friday night. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in England to 104 with 134 in the UK as a whole.
Cases have now been identified in the east Midlands, east of England, London, north-east, north-west, south-east, south-west and West Midlands.
On Friday, 16 cases were found in Scotland in the previous 24 hours, five times the increase recorded the previous day, with some linked to a Steps concert in Glasgow 11 days ago. Wales also announced its first case on Friday.
The double jabbed
The sharp rise in cases came as a new risk assessment from the UKHSA said the new variant is “transmitting rapidly and successfully”. A separate analysis by the agency of the first 22 Omicron cases in England also found that more than half of those infected had been double jabbed.
Twelve of the 22 cases occurred more than 14 days after the individual had received at least two doses of vaccine. Two cases were more than 28 days after the first dose of vaccine. Six were unvaccinated, while two had no available data.
Death and hospitalization
None of the cases is known to have been hospitalised or died, but the UKHSA said that “most of the cases have a specimen date that is very recent and that there is a lag between onset of infection and hospitalisation and death.”
The UKHSA has also issued its highest “red” alert against the virus for its theoretical ability, based on its mutations, to evade both vaccine and naturally acquired immunity.
“We are working as fast as possible to gather more evidence about any impact the new variant may have on the severity of disease or vaccine effectiveness. Until we have this evidence, we must exercise the highest level of caution in drawing conclusions about any significant risks to people’s health.”
She added: “We have started to see cases where there are no links to travel, suggesting that we have a small amount of community transmission.”
“The single best thing you can do to protect yourself, your community and the NHS against new variants of coronavirus is to take up the offer of a vaccine.”
Soaring cases and community transmission
Sturgeon said: “The number of Omicron cases now being reported in Scotland is rising, and cases are no longer all linked to a single event, but to several different sources including a Steps concert at the Hydro on 22 November.”
This confirms our view that there is now community transmission of this variant within Scotland. Given the nature of transmission, we would expect to see cases rise, perhaps significantly, in the days ahead.
“However, health protection teams are continuing work through contact tracing, isolation and testing to slow the spread as far as possible while we learn more about the new variant’s impact. Ministers are also keeping the situation under daily review.”
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Source: The Guardian