Early evidence out of the UK suggests the new UK Covid-19 variant may be more deadly than the original virus.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered the grim findings during a press conference overnight at Downing Street.
"We’ve been informed today that in addition to spreading more quickly, it also now appears there some evidence that the new variant...may be associated with a high degree of mortality," he says.
This new finding comes after the UK recorded a further 1401 covid-related deaths yesterday, bringing the country’s death toll to 95,981.
Clarifying Johnson’s comments, Chief Medical Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there is very early "uncertain evidence" that the UK variant is slightly more deadly than the older strain.
He added that if you took a sample of men in their 60s, for every 1,000 of them to be infected with the original variant, a total of 10 would be likely to die. Whereas, with the new variant, 13 people in that sample would die.
Johnson added that evidence showed the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford University’s AstraZeneca, both currently being used in the UK, remained effective against both the old and new covid variants.