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Key points: New Variant More Deadly

Posted on January 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, hosted tonight's press briefing. Alongside him were the UK's Chief Medical Adviser, Chris Whitty, and the Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

Key points from the conference:

  • Boris Johnson began the briefing by suggesting the new variant found in the Southern parts of England, is showing signs of a "higher degree of mortality".

  • Moving on to statistics, there are 38,000 people in hospitals, which is 78% higher than the peak in the first wave in April, putting a "significant strain" on the NHS. Within the last 24 hours there were 40,261 cases and 1,401 deaths.

  • In the last 7 days, the average of deaths was 1,241 daily, further evidencing the likelihood the new strain is more deadly. Provided in the graphs below.

  • The Prime Minister reassures us evidence strongly suggests all the vaccines "remain effective" against both the old and the new variant of the coronavirus. He continues by saying the immunization programme is moving at an "unprecedented rate" with 5.4 million people having received the jab and a record 400,000 since yesterday.

  • Chris Whitty takes over to say the number of people testing positive is slowly going down from an "exceptional high level". Although even with the most recent estimate 1 in 55 people on average are tested positive.

  • There are signs of "flattening out" in the amount of patients in hospitals adds Whitty.

  • Sir Patrick Vallance is the last to speak, explaining the evidence of the new strain. With an average 60 year old, the risk of death from the old variant is 10 in 1,000 and the risk of death from the new variant is 13 or 14 in 1,000.

To read the key points from previous government coronavirus conferences click here