A New Study Suggests Omicron is Milder Than Delta

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According recent new studies, symptoms caused by Omicron appear to be much milder than the Delta variants. Summarizing the findings of these studies, CNN Health reporter Jacqueline Howard writes:

  • A study conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh (UK) reported that Omicron had a two-thirds reduction in the risk of Covid-19 hospitalization as compared with Delta.
  • The other study by researchers at South Africa suggested that “people with Omicron infections have had 80% lower odds of being admitted to the hospital compared with Delta infections. But once a patient was hospitalized, there was no difference in the risk of severe disease”.

Although small in number, the study is good news. The two thirds reduction in hospitalisation of double vaccinated young people compared to Delta indicates that Omicron will be milder for more people.

– James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute and professor of structural biology at the University of Oxford (source: CNN Health)

Commenting on the studies, Dr. Naismith (who was reportedly not involved in the study) further added “The study is rigorous but it is early (thus might change a bit with more data and more studies will report in the weeks ahead). It should be noted that some South African scientists have been saying Omicron was milder for some time. Although two thirds reduction is significant, Omicron can cause severe illness in the doubly vaccinated. Thus, if Omicron continues to double every few days, it could generate many more hospitalisations than Delta from the double vaccinated population.”

According to CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reportedly presented these latest data from South Africa and Scotland at a White House briefing last week.

In fact, it appears, that in the context of South Africa, there is a decrease in the severity compared to Delta — both in the relationship and ratio between hospitalizations and the number of infections, the duration of hospital stay and the need for supplemental oxygen therapy.

– Dr. Anthony Fauci at a White House briefing (source: CNN Health)

Dr Fauci reportedly added “Recently, literally yesterday, there was another paper that came out from Scotland, which appears to validate and verify the data that are in South Africa. This is good news, however, we must wait to see what happens in our own population, which has its own demographic considerations.”

BBC News Health and science correspondent James Gallagher writes “The reduction in severity is thought to be a combination of the fundamental properties of the Omicron variant as well as high levels of immunity from vaccinations and previous infections.”.

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Dec 30, 9 a.m.) 615,358,465 doses have been distributed and 507,657,980 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Dec 28) a total of 8,685,646 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Dec 30) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 1,022,212 (out of 16,168,942 tested) with 10,516 deaths.