According to a number of research studies published in the last few days, the Omicron strain of the Covid-19 virus is far milder than the Delta strain, and the risk of hospitalization due to infection with Omicron is far lower than the risk following infection with the Delta variant.
Researchers from Edinburgh University in Scotland have now suggested that the danger posed by Omicron is as much as 66 percent lower than that of Delta as regards hospitalization. They reached their conclusions following an investigation of data from 23,840 infections with the Omicron strain as compared with 126,511 Delta infections, and found that just 15 people with the Omicron strain needed to be hospitalized, as opposed to 856 in the Delta group.
Another study, conducted by the National Institute for Infectious Diseases in South Africa in conjunction with the University of Cape Town, looked at 161,328 cases of coronavirus infection, comparing Delta and Omicron cases. The study’s authors found that just 2.5 percent of those infected with the Omicron strain needed to be hospitalized, far less than the 12.8 percent of those infected with Delta who needed hospital care. The South African researchers stressed that, “These are preliminary results, and the situation may change as the epidemic progresses”; however, data from South Africa has meanwhile indicated that the current “wave” there is already receding.
A third study conducted by researchers at Imperial College London investigated 56,000 Omicron cases and 269,000 Delta cases, and found that those infected with the Omicron strain were at 20 to 25 percent less danger of being hospitalized. All the cases were found in people who were fully vaccinated.
Among the unvaccinated population, the risk of being hospitalized following infection with the Omicron strain was found to be 11 percent lower than that following Delta infection. And among the cohort of those with a prior coronavirus infection, the danger of hospitalization following Omicron infection was a full 50 percent lower than following their original infection.
An additional study conducted by the Public Health Institute of Scotland found that the risk of hospitalization following Omicron infection was 70 percent lower than that following a Delta infection.