An Israeli hospital on Tuesday confirmed the first known death in the country believed to be caused by Omicron, the latest variant of SARS-CoV-2, which has brought back 2020-like restrictions across the world. With Isreal, now there are three countries that have recorded fatalities from Omicron, the variant which is spreading faster than Delta, but causing apparently milder illness.
The first Omicron death in the United States was recorded on Monday. The patient was aged between 50 and 60 years and was believed to be unvaccinated.
Britain said 12 people who have been infected with the Omicron variant have died in the country. In the UK, the new variant is spreading faster with the number of hospitalisation also increasing. Fresh restrictions ahead of the Christmas and New Year celebrations are also on the cards.
The first case of Omicron was reported by South Africa on November 24. Within weeks, the variant spread to the maximum number of countries. Experts said the variant is spreading faster than Delta, which caused the second wave of the pandemic, but is not causing severe illness. Almost all Omicron cases across the world have zero to mild symptoms. The virus is also not affecting the lungs, as scientists believe that the variant is multiplying in the throat making scratchy throat a symptom of the variant. For weeks, there was no death attributed to Omicron. The deaths reported from these three countries — though details of all cases are not known — indicate people above the age of 50 with comorbidities are at a greater risk. More so, if they are not vaccinated. Omicron is known to be capable of evading immunity, but experts have said that present vaccines can still guard against the severity of Covid caused by Omicron – to some extent.