UK data indicate that hospitalization is less likely with Omicron

The UK’s Public Health Agency said Thursday that preliminary data indicates that people with the omicron type of coronavirus are 50% to 70% less likely to be hospitalized than those with the delta strain. from the sun’s rays.”

The findings from the UK’s Health Security Agency add to emerging evidence that Omicron produces milder disease than other variants. But scientists caution that any reduction in risk must be weighed against the fact that Omicron spreads much faster than Delta and is better at avoiding vaccines.

Shoppers reflect in the window as they walk down Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street, in London on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
(AP Photo/Frank Augustin)

Based on cases in the UK, it is estimated that a person with omicron is 31% to 45% less likely to go to a hospital emergency department compared to someone with delta,” and 50 to 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital, the agency says.

He cautioned that the analysis was “preliminary and highly uncertain” due to the small number of Omicron patients in hospitals and the fact that most of them belong to younger age groups. As of 20 December, 132 people were admitted to UK hospitals with confirmed Omicron. 14 of them died, aged 52 to 96.

Countries around the world are watching Britain closely, where Omicron is now prevalent and COVID-19 cases have increased by more than 50% in one week.

Experts not involved in the analysis described this as encouraging.

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

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Signs that omicron may cause less serious disease than delta, Lee said, are also consistent with lab data that omicron does not grow well in cells derived from the lungs.

Dr. Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard University, added that the findings add to similar data from South Africa.

There are still things known, Walker said, such as the relative severity of omicrons in someone who has been vaccinated compared to someone who already has COVID-19 or someone who has not been vaccinated and has not had the disease.

He said vaccination is still crucial.

Walker, MD, a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which also supports the Health and Science division of the Associated Press, said.

Shoppers walk down Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street, in London on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
(AP Photo/Frank Augustin)

According to UK agency research, the protection offered by the booster vaccine against symptomatic oomicron infection appears to wear off after about 10 weeks, although protection from hospitalization and serious illness is likely to last longer.

Jenny Harry, managing director of HSA UK, said the analysis “shows an encouraging early indication that people who contract the omicron variant may have a relatively lower risk of hospitalization than those who contract the other variants”.

But she added that “cases are currently very high in the UK, and even the relatively small proportion that requires hospitalization can lead to serious illness in a large number of people”.

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The analysis follows two studies, from Imperial College London and Scottish researchers, that found patients with oomicrons were 20% to 68% less likely to be treated in hospital than those with delta.

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Even if the first studies are confirmed, the new alternative could overwhelm health care systems due to the massive number of infections. The UK health agency said Omicron appears to be able to reinfect people more easily than previous variants, with 9.5% of Omicron cases found in people who had previously contracted COVID-19 – a figure that, according to it, may have been underestimated. would.

Britain reported nearly 120,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, the highest number recorded during the pandemic, and on the second day the number exceeded 100,000.

L’Office britannique des statistiques nationales a estimé qu’environ 1 personne sur 45 dans les ménages privés en Angleterre – 1,2 million de personnes – avait COVID-19 dans la semaine précédant le 16 décembre plus, le obé le nive Epidemic.

Britain’s Conservative government this month reinstated rules requiring face masks in stores and ordering people to show evidence of vaccination or test negative for the coronavirus before entering nightclubs and other crowded places with the aim of slowing the spread of Omicron.

On Thursday, the government said it will not impose any new restrictions until Christmas but may do so soon after.

Shoppers do their last Christmas shopping in Covent Garden, London, on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.

Shoppers do their last Christmas shopping in Covent Garden, London, on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.
(AP Photo/Frank Augustin)

Officials also urged people to get tested regularly and to reduce their social contact. Many in Britain have heeded this advice, leaving leisure and hospitality companies in shock at what must be their busiest time of the year.

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Experts stressed that staying out of the hospital should not be the only goal. People should also try to avoid prolonged COVID-19, which can result from a mild infection.

“We are all pleased to hear that this is less immediately dangerous in terms of disease,” Walker said. “But do we know what the potential for the coronavirus to have been for a long time? No, we don’t. There hasn’t been enough time (that has passed) to know if the omicron is linked to the prolonged COVID.”

Louis Mansky, director of the Institute of Molecular Virology at the University of Minnesota, said there isn’t enough data to know how Omicron will perform in the United States.

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“It’s about the health of average Americans,” Mansky said. “We have other epidemics in terms of obesity and cardiovascular disease,” he said, explaining that “the overall health of the individual” will be an important factor in the degree of illness that he may develop due to the omicron.

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