Wednesday, January 26, 2022

UK data show omicron hospitalization less likely

LONDON ( Associated Press) – People with the omicronic variant of the coronavirus are 50% to 70% less likely to be hospitalized than those with the delta strain, the British public health agency said Thursday, finding that

LONDON ( Associated Press). According to preliminary data, the probability of hospitalization in people with the omicron variant of the coronavirus is 50-70% lower than in people with the delta strain. a little ray of sunshine. “

The findings from the UK Health Safety Agency are complemented by new evidence that omicron causes milder disease than other options. But scientists warn that any reduction in severity must be weighed against the fact that omicron spreads much faster than delta and better avoids vaccination.

Based on UK cases, a person with an omicron is estimated to be 31-45% less likely to go to the emergency room than a person with a delta, “and 50-70% less likely to go to hospital,” the agency said.

He cautioned that the analysis is “preliminary and highly uncertain” due to the small number of omicron patients in hospitals and the fact that most of them are in younger age groups. As of 20 December 132 people have been admitted to UK hospitals with a confirmed omicron. Fourteen of them died, all between the ages of 52 and 96.

Countries around the world are keeping a close eye on the UK, which is now dominated by the omicron and where COVID-19 cases are up more than 50% in a week.

Non-analytical experts called this encouraging.

“For me, it’s a little ray of sunshine among all the dark clouds,” said Dr. Jonathan Lee, director of the Harvard / Brigham Specialized Virology Laboratory.

The indications that omicron may cause less severe disease than delta are also consistent with laboratory data suggesting omicron does not grow as well in lung-derived cells, Li said.

The results complement similar data from South Africa, added Dr. Bruce Walker, director of MIT Ragon, MIT and Harvard.

Walker said there are still unknown data such as the relative severity of the omicron in someone who has been vaccinated versus someone who has had COVID-19 before, or someone who has not been vaccinated and has not been sick. …

Vaccinations remain critical, he said.

“The bottom line is that the best way to prepare for this new wave is to get immunized, and if someone is already vaccinated, get boosted,” said Walker, an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute who also supports the Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science. …

A British agency study found that the protection offered by the booster vaccine against symptomatic omicron infection wanes after about 10 weeks, although protection against hospitalization and serious illness is likely to last longer.

The analysis “provides an encouraging early signal that people who become infected with the omicron variant may be at relatively lower risk of hospitalization than those who contract the other variants,” said UK HSA CEO Jenny Harris.

But she added that “there are currently a lot of cases in the UK, and even a relatively small proportion requiring hospitalization could cause serious illness in a significant number of people.”

The analysis follows two studies by Imperial College London and Scottish researchers who found that omicron patients were 20-68% less likely to need inpatient care than delta patients.

Even if the first studies are confirmed, the new variant could still overwhelm health systems due to the sheer number of infections. The British health agency said the omicron could apparently re-infect people more easily than previous options: 9.5% of omicron cases were found in people who were already infected with COVID-19 – a figure he said is likely an underestimate …

On Thursday, the UK reported nearly 120,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest rate during a pandemic, and surpassed 100,000 on day two.

The UK Office for National Statistics estimates that about 1 in 45 people in private households in England – 1.2 million people – contracted COVID-19 in the week before December 16, the highest rate in an entire pandemic.

The UK Conservative government this month reinstated rules requiring masks in stores and ordered people to show proof of vaccination or test negative for coronavirus before entering nightclubs and other crowded places in an effort to slow the spread of omicron.

On Thursday, the government said it would not impose any new restrictions before Christmas, but may do so shortly thereafter.

Officials also urged people to get tested regularly and cut back on communication. Many in Britain have heeded this advice, leaving entertainment and hospitality businesses unstable due to what must be their busiest time of the year.

The experts noted that staying out of the hospital should not be the only goal; People should also avoid long-term exposure to COVID-19, which can result from mild infections.

“We’re all happy to hear that this is immediately less serious in terms of illness,” Walker said. – But do we know what the likelihood of long-term COVID is? No, we don’t. Not enough time has passed to understand whether the omicron is associated with long-term COVID. “

Louis Mansky, director of the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Minnesota, said the data were insufficient to know how the omicron would work in the United States.

“It’s going back to the state of health of the average American,” Manski said. “We have other epidemics of obesity and cardiovascular disease,” he said, explaining that “general human health” will go a long way. a factor of how much they can get sick from the omicron.


Reported by Hangar from Louisville, Kentucky.

The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. Associated Press is solely responsible for all content. Stay tuned for Associated Press posts on the pandemic at

Jill Lawless and Laura Hangar, Associated Press

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