The new variant of coronavirus discovered in Kent is up to 30 per cent more deadly than the original, Boris Johnson will announce later today.
Prof Neil Ferguson, who sits on Nervtag, the Government’s virus advisory committee, said the latest data showed up to 13 in 1000 people aged 60 who contract the variant strain could die, compared with 10 in 1000 who caught the original variant.
Boris Johnson is expected to address the latest findings in a Downing Street press conference at 5pm.
“It is a realistic possibility that the new UK variant increases the risk of death, but there is considerable remaining uncertainty,” Prof Ferguson told ITV.
“Four groups – Imperial, LSHTM, PHE and Exeter – have looked at the relationship between people testing positive for the variant vs old strains and the risk of death.”
The professor said the data available on the new variant is patchy, but there is a “signal” that there is a “1.3-fold increased risk of death”.
The new variant, which has now been reported across the UK and in several other countries, is also more transmissable.