Deaths from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County have soared over the last week, with officials saying some of the recent fatalities appear to be from the Omicron variant.

The spread of the latest coronavirus variant has moved with unprecedented speed since December, although officials have said illnesses related to Omicron produce milder symptoms than the earlier Delta variant. Even so, officials say it is fatal for some.

Of 102 deaths reported Thursday — the highest single-day tally since March 10, 2021 — 90% involved people who became ill with COVID-19 after Christmas, and 80% were among those who fell ill after New Year’s Day, indicating a high likelihood of Omicron infection, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

It appears that people who are dying from the Omicron variant are deteriorating much quicker than those infected by earlier variants, Ferrer told reporters.

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