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Newly released data from Scotland and South Africa hint that those infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus could be at lower risk of hospitalization than those who caught previous coronavirus strains. Furthermore, data suggests that immunity from earlier infections of the virus or vaccination could still effectively ward off acute illness.
Although the possibility of reduced risk of hospitalization is good news, Jim McMenamin, who is the incident director for COVID-19 at Public Health Scotland, and one of the authors of the Scottish study, says:
It’s important we don’t get ahead of ourselves. A smaller proportion of a much greater number of cases can still mean a substantial number of people that might experience severe COVID infections.
In Scotland, a University of Edinburgh study drew 5.4 million people’s health records. This study discovered the risk of hospitalization with COVID-19 being two-thirds lower with the Omicron variant than the Delta variant. In addition, the Omicron variant was the dominant variant in Scotland recent weeks ago.
Another study by researchers located at South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases was published online. This study discovered a similar discovery of people infected with the Omicron variant being 70 to 80% less likely to require treatment in a hospital than those who contracted previous variants, like the Delta variant.
However, these new studies, not yet peer-reviewed, reveal that Omicron variant infections are shown to be milder in populations that have high immunity levels. High immunity is typically found in those who have had the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or from a prior infection.
Scientists of South Africa notified the world of Omicron’s existence in late November. Since this time, it has been detected in over 80 countries. In addition, the Omicron variant counts for close to three-quarters of the recent coronavirus cases in the United States documented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Written by Ke’Lena Thomas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Wall Street Journal: Two Studies Show Much Lower Risk of Hospitalization With Omicron; by Jason Douglas and Denise Roland
CNN: Early studies suggest a reduced risk of Covid-19 hospitalization when infected with Omicron compared to Delta; by Jacqueline Howard
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