The omicron Covid variant is less likely to result in hospitalization than earlier strains and appears to be milder in comparison, according to early data released this week.
Data from South Africa, England and Scotland indicate that people infected with omicron are significantly less likely to be admitted to hospital than if they contract other strains, and the latter study further emphasized the importance of getting a booster shot .
On Tuesday, a new study from South Africa showed that people infected with omicron are 80% less likely to be admitted to hospital when compared to other strains. The authors of the study, which has not been peer reviewed, cautioned that this may be in part due to higher immunity among the population, either as a result of previous infection and/or vaccination.
The research, published by the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases on Tuesday, suggests a reduced risk of hospitalization and severe disease in omicron sufferers when compared to people who caught the delta variant.
Assessing results from Oct. 1 to Dec. 6, the data shows that individuals with omicron were 70% less likely to experience severe disease than earlier delta infections. However, among those hospitalized, the risk of severe disease didn’t differ from other variants.
The authors of the South Africa paper controlled for factors known to be associated with more severe infections, including age and co-morbidities, and adjusted for factors including vaccination status.
Elsewhere, studies from Scotland and England appear to back up the South Africa findings.
Early Scottish data, published Wednesday and not peer reviewed, suggests that omicron is two-thirds less likely to result in hospitalization versus delta.