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First known 'Omicron death in America' in dispute—health official 'can't confirm' cause of death

"We can’t confirm that the patient died from COVID, but we can say that he was Omicron positive at the time of his death," said Martha Marquez, Harris County Public Health.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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On Monday, the US reported its first Omicron variant death. A phone call with a reporter though reveals that the man did not necessarily die of the variant.

"Sad to report the first local fatality from the Omicron variant of COVID-19. A man in his 50's from the eastern portion of Harris County who was not vaccinated. Please - get vaccinated and boosted," tweeted Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

A phone call between Dan Cohen, a contributor to Mint Press News, and Martha Marquez, Harris County Public Health, reveals though that the man may not have died because of the virus itself.

"We can't confirm that the patient died from COVID, but we can say that he was Omicron positive at the time of his death," said Marquez.

"So he died with COVID, but you can't say that he died from COVID?" Cohen asked.

"Correct," Marquez stated. "This information comes from our epidemiologists, who are the ones who get the reports. They have to do a very meticulous investigation because, you know, they do take this very much at heart."

"They are telling me that they cannot say that, that COVID was the absolute cause of death," she continued.

The revelation comes as the Omicron variant, which has been toted as being a milder variant than those before, surpassed the Delta variant to become the primary variant in the US.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of cases in the US. The Delta variant now accounts for just 26.6 percent of all US cases.

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