52% citizens feel risk of COVID variants driving a strong 2nd wave is real
The B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the U.K., is between 30% to 100% more deadly than previous strains, likely around 64%, according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal 2 weeks ago.
Governments should consider additional measures to reduce deaths from the variant and plan for hospital capacity, the study authors wrote.
“Death from COVID-19 is still a rare event, but the B.1.1.7 variant raises the risk. Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly, this makes B.1.1.7 a threat that should be taken seriously,” Robert Challen, the lead author and a researcher at the University of Exeter, said in a statement.
Epidemiologists from the University of Exeter and the University of Bristol compared the deaths rates among people infected with the variant and those infected with other strains. They found that the B.1.1.7 variant led to 227 deaths among nearly 55,000 patients, compared with 141 deaths among patients who had previous strains. The researchers matched the groups based on age, sex, ethnicity and location to eliminate as many variables as possible.
The difference represents an increase in deaths from 2.5 to 4.1 per 1,000 cases, they wrote. More people who would have been considered low-risk previously were hospitalized with the B.1.1.7 variant, they found. more