Britain reported 121 new COVID deaths on Saturday, taking the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive test result to 125.464, daily government figures showed.
A further 5. 534 people have tested positive for the disease, down from 6.609 on Friday, while the number of people who have received at least one vaccine dose has risen to 23.684 million from 23.315 million the day before.
In January it was reported that the United States is closely watching the more infectious variant of COVID-19 after British officials warned that it may also be more deadly, two top US health officials , cautioning more data is needed.
Officials were somewhat more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among US cases of the novel coronavirus, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins and Dr Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s top COVID-19 medical adviser, also said.
Collins noted the UK’s data was preliminary, and said it was unclear why those with the UK variant faced a higher risk of death, whether by changes in the virus itself or other external causes such as pressures on the healthcare system.
“Let’s take this as something to watch closely,” he told MSNBC in an interview.
Fauci separately told MSNBC that he needed to see the raw data from the UK before fully assessing the mortality risk and that US officials were weighing how the two new strains could impact vaccine efficacy.
Their comments come as Democratic President Joe Biden took the reins of the nation’s COVID-19 response, seeking to re-energize the fight against the highly infectious disease and urging a war-like stance.