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Omicron variant death in Texas: What we know about the first omicron variant death in the U.S.

The first death connected to the omicron variant happened in Texas

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A stethoscopeat in Westerstede, northwest Germany.

A stethoscope hangs in front of a monitor at the intensive care unit at the Westerstede Clinical Center, a military-civilian hospital in Westerstede, northwest Germany, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021

Martin Meissner, Associated Press

The first United States death linked to the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus happened in Texas.

Per The Washington Post, an unvaccinated man from Harris County, Texas, tested positive for the omicron variant before his death. He appears to be the first documented omicron variant death.

  • According to Harris County Public Health, the unvaccinated man had previously been infected with COVID-19 and had underlying health conditions that made him vulnerable to severe COVID-19.

County health officials called on the American people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the dangerous new variant.

  • “This is a reminder of the severity of COVID-19 and its variants,” Barbie Robinson, county health executive director, said in a news release. “We urge all residents who qualify to get vaccinated and get their booster shot if they have not already.”

Most recent research on the omicron variant — which hasn’t spread long enough for there to be complete data — suggests that the variant creates less severe COVID-19 symptoms among those infected, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

The variant may cause less severe symptoms even though it’s been reported that omicron can evade vaccines, booster shots and antibodies from natural immunity, according to a study from researchers at Columbia University.

  • “We found (omicron) to be markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the study, which was done by researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the University of Hong Kong. “Even serum from persons vaccinated and boosted with mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B.1.1.529.”