| 16 April 2024, Tuesday |

Omicron hospitalization risk is far below delta’s in two studies

According to a pair of preliminary data analyses, the omicron version of Covid-19 may be less likely to place people in the hospital than the delta strain.

Researchers in Scotland believe omicron is related with a two-thirds drop in hospitalization risk when compared to the older variety, despite the fact that omicron was ten times more likely than delta to infect persons who had previously received Covid.

An Imperial College London study using a wider collection of data from England discovered that persons with omicron were 15% to 20% less likely to attend the hospital and 40% to 45% less likely to require an overnight stay.

The latest findings supplement previous findings published on Wednesday, which showed that South Africans infected with Covid-19 are 80 percent less likely to be hospitalized when compared to other strains. According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, omicron infections are likewise linked with a 70% reduced incidence of severe illness than delta infections.

Although preliminary, the corpus of data suggests that omicron may be less likely to cause catastrophic effects than delta, at least in areas where a high number of individuals already have some immunity.

Cases of records
Nonetheless, the researchers warned that the highly contagious new strain might put a pressure on health-care systems as illnesses spread over the world. Daily Covid cases in the United Kingdom surpassed 100,000 on Wednesday, the largest single-day figure in the country’s history.

“It’s critical that we don’t get ahead of ourselves,” said Jim McMenamin, national Covid-19 incident director for Public Health Scotland, which collaborated with the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde on the Scottish research. “A lower proportion of a larger number of patients requiring treatment may nonetheless result in a significant number of persons experiencing severe Covid.”

Anthony Fauci, the senior medical adviser to US Vice President Joe Biden, shared those sentiments. While the Scotland study “appears to support and verify the results from South Africa,” he cautioned that differences in US demographics might lead to different outcomes, and that the total caseload could negate any gains from reduced severity.

“Even if there is a reduction in severity, if you have a significantly higher number of individual instances, the fact that you have so many more cases may actually nullify the impact of it being less severe,” Fauci said at a press conference.

Booster doses provide higher protection against delta, while a third injection provides significant further protection against the possibility of symptomatic infection for omicron, according to the Scottish researchers.

Other considerations, such as increased numbers of persons who are vaccinated or who have previously taken Covid, have been cited by public health officials as complicating any comparison with other times in the epidemic. The Scottish research also included a small number of persons above the age of 60.

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