World

US infections cross 25 million as UK virus variant worries officials

WASHINGTON: About one in every 13 people in the United States has been infected with the coronavirus, with The New York Times database recording 25 million coronavirus cases on Saturday.

There are now over 414,000 deaths linked to the virus. That is one death out of roughly every 800 people in the country, according to NYT.

While the experts try to come to grips with the surge, two top US health officials told Reuters that they are closely watching the more infectious variant of Covid-19 after British officials warned it could also be more deadly.

Officials are more worried about a separate variant from South Africa, although it has not yet been identified among US cases, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins and Dr Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top Covid-19 medical adviser, said.

Dr Collins noted that Britain's data was preliminary and said it was unclear why those with the 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.

Dr Fauci separately told MSNBC that he needed to see the raw data before fully assessing the mortality risk, and that US officials were weighing how the two new strains could impact vaccine efficacy.

"These are serious situations that we are following very closely and, if necessary, we will adapt to it," Dr Fauci said, adding that vaccines could be altered if needed.

WORLD