The risk of hospitalization with the Omicron COVID-19 variant is about one-third that of the Delta variant, according to a British analysis of more than a million cases of both types in recent weeks.
The UK is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, with record daily infections of 189,846 reported on Friday.
While hospital admissions have begun to rise, the government has said it believes the new variant is milder than the Delta variant.
Omicron FAQ: Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 variant
The number of patients in need of mechanical ventilation beds has also remained stable through December, in contrast to previous pandemic peaks.
The analysis was published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) after working with Cambridge University MRC Biostatistics Unit to analyze 528,176 Omicron cases and 573,012 Delta cases.
Betty White, Hollywood icon and TV’s Golden Girl, died at age 99
Betty White’s death reaps reactions from Hollywood’s old and young
It also found that vaccines can work well against Omicron.
“In this analysis, the risk of hospitalization is lower for Omicron cases with symptomatic or asymptomatic infection after two and three doses of vaccine, with an 81 percent reduction in the risk of hospitalization after three doses compared to unvaccinated Omicron cases.” said UKHSA.
Omicron is less serious than Delta Delta survey suggests as COVID cases rise across Canada
Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser at UKHSA, said the analysis was in line with other encouraging signs on Omicron, but said healthcare could still struggle with such high transmission rates.
“It is still too early to draw any definitive conclusions about the severity of the hospital’s, and the increased portability of Omicron and the growing number of people over the age of 60 in the UK mean that there is still a high probability that there will be significant pressure on NHS in the coming weeks. ” she said.
Friday’s daily data update showed 12,395 patients in hospital in the UK with COVID-19, up from 11,542 on Thursday and continuing a steeply rising trend. However, the figure is well below a peak of more than 34,000 in January.