Good News: Study on Omicron Variant shows Hospitalisation Rate Lower than Delta

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NEW DELHI: Two new studies suggest that Omicron infections more often result in mild illness compared with previous variants of the coronavirus, offering hope that the current surge may be less catastrophic than feared, according to a report in The New York Times.

The research, conducted in Britain and released on Wednesday, indicated that Omicron was less likely to lead to people getting hospitalised.

One study looked at hospital admissions for the Delta and Omicron variants in November and December and found a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospitalization. A separate analysis looked at Omicron and Delta cases in the first two weeks of December and saw a smaller reduction in hospital visits.

The preliminary studies were cautiously welcomed by experts, who nonetheless stressed that any advantage in milder outcomes could still be negated by the new strain's heightened infectiousness, which may still lead to more overall severe cases.

Neither of the studies has been peer reviewed, but they add to growing evidence about the disease outcome of Omicron. It remains unclear whether the decreased rate of severe cases seen with Omicron is because of characteristics of the variant, or whether it appears milder because it is coming up against populations with greater immunity from prior infection and from vaccination.

Penny Ward, a professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King's College London, who was not involved in the research, said: "This news does not detract from the extraordinary spread of this variant across the population, and the fact that even a small proportion of people needing hospital care for COVID may become a very large number indeed if the community attack rate continues to escalate."

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