NSW has the first confirmed death from the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Australia after an elderly man died in Sydney’s west.
The man, aged in his 80s, died at Westmead Hospital, NSW Health said. He had been living at Uniting Lilian Wells aged care facility in North Parramatta, which is where he acquired his infection.
It is the first confirmed death from the Omicron variant reported by state health authorities.
The man had received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine and had underlying health conditions.
"This was the first known death in New South Wales linked to the Omicron variant of concern," government epidemiologist Christine Selvey said in a video released by NSW Health.
He was among three deaths reported Monday along with 6,324 new infections.
Victoria is yet to report any deaths officially attributed to the Omicron strain.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters last week about 80 per cent of new cases of coronavirus registered in the state are likely the Omicron variant.
“The increase in Omicron largely explains the steep rise in cases,” she said.
“The Delta case numbers did start to rise in mid-December, but we’re now seeing the delta proportion of cases declining and that large uptick being accounted for by Omicron.”
She added “emerging” data from South Africa and the UK showed the infection with Omicron is likely milder than the Delta variant.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters on Sunday it’s likely everyone in NSW will contract the Omicron variant at some stage.
"Everyone in NSW is probably going to get Omicron at some stage,” he told reporters. “Everybody in Australia will get Omicron.”
There have been suggestions in studies across the globe that Omicron is a milder variant of coronavirus but research is still being undertaken.
South Africa, which was rife with Omicron cases, has passed its surge with cases plummeting over the past few days. Omicron has been detected in 110 countries across the globe, according to the World Health Organisation.
The UK and the US have also recorded deaths from the Omicron variant.
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