Omicron is “probably the most serious threat” since the start of the pandemic, according to the head of British health.

A sign warning people to stay away due to Covid-19 is visible on July 29, 2021 in Mevagissi, UK.

Finnbarr Webster | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON – Jenny Harris, CEO of the UK Health Safety Agency, has sharply warned of the threat posed to the country by a new highly mutated version of the Covid-19 omicron.

Harris said the new strain is “probably the most serious threat” since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“I am confident, for example, that the numbers that we will see from the data over the next few days will be quite staggering compared to the growth rates we saw in the cases for the previous options,” she told a committee of British legislators on Wednesday. …

“The real potential risk here – and I would like to emphasize this as we still learn a lot about this option – is related to its severity, clinical severity, and therefore whether these cases escalate into serious illness, hospitalization and death. We’re still too early for that. In fact, the world is probably still too early to be clear, ”she added.

Her comments were made shortly before the UK reported a record number of new daily Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, 78,610 in the past 24 hours.

The figure has risen from 59,610 a day earlier and surpasses the previous high of 68,053 on January 8.

This highlights the dramatic spike in infections the country is experiencing ahead of the holidays, and the omicron variant is expected to quickly become the dominant strain.

Long lines were seen at vaccination centers in many cities in the UK as the government dramatically stepped up its revaccination program to try to give as many people a third shot as possible.

Although mortality rates are currently low and initial reports suggest that the omicron variant may not be more serious than other Covid strains, health experts have repeatedly warned that the sheer number of infections could lead to increased mortality and congestion in the health care system.

Harris also said Wednesday: “We don’t know what’s going to happen. But at the moment, there are signs that this time last year it could be as big or even larger than the previous wave. So we are preparing for this. “

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