Steve Grove, a chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center, prays in a COVID-19 patient's room, Friday, Dec. 10, 2021, in Minneapolis. Credit: Charlie Neibergall / AP

Texas has recorded what is likely to be the country’s first COVID-19 death from the omicron variant, an unvaccinated man in his 50s with underlying health conditions.

No sooner had the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus constituted 73 percent of cases nationwide, then the country recorded its first death from the variant.

The man was “between the ages of 50-60 years old who was unvaccinated and had been infected with COVID-19 previously,” the Harris County Public Health Department said in a statement.

While indications are that omicron is not more virulent than other strains of the virus that causes COVID-19, experts also warn that unvaccinated people are still at great risk, and are urging everyone eligible to not only get vaccinated but also get the third booster shot for maximum protection.

Even those who have already had COVID-19 should get one, public health experts say. Unvaccinated people will likely have a starkly different COVID-19 experience, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Monday.

Back in Texas, public health officials expressed that and sent out condolences.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the patient’s family, and we extend our deepest sympathies,” department executive director Barbie Robinson said in the statement. “This is a reminder of the severity of COVID-19 and its variants. We urge all residents who qualify to get vaccinated and get their booster shot if they have not already.”

Theresa Braine, New York Daily News