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New coronavirus strain “may be more deadly” says Boris Johnson

BBC, 23 Jan 2021
Boris Johnson has said there is evidence that the new variant of coronavirus spreading across the UK could be more deadly than the original strain.

Government scientists suggested the strain may lead to 30% or 40% more deaths. They said that for men in their 60s, 10 out of 1,000 would be expected to die from the original virus. With the variant strain, the number of deaths per 1,000 has risen to 13 or 14.

The government's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said there is a lot of uncertainty around the numbers but it is of concern.

There is good news on the vaccination programme with a record number of doses administered in the 24 hours.

However Boris Johnson warned that the infection rate is still forbiddingly high and he said he can't consider lifting restrictions in England until it’s clear that the vaccination programme is working.

But there's one vital question that scientists can't yet answer. Will people who've had the jab still be able to pass the virus on?

Sophie Raworth presents BBC News at Ten reporting by health editor Hugh Pym, deputy political editor Vicki Young and science editor David Shukman.

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