UK report finds people with Omicron less likely to need hospitalization

LONDON – People who contracted the Omicron variant of the coronavirus were about half as likely to need hospital care as those infected ...

LONDON – People who contracted the Omicron variant of the coronavirus were about half as likely to need hospital care as those infected with the Delta variant, and a third as likely to need emergency care, according to a report released by UK health authorities on Friday.

Analysis of public data also found that vaccination offers strong protection against hospitalization and serious illness after infection with Omicron, helping to prevent worst outcomes even as infection rates in Britain hit record highs. record levels.

The findings represent some of the largest real-world datasets to be released since the highly contagious variant was first discovered in late November, and add to a growing body of evidence that Omicron may not present such a great danger of hospitalization and serious illness. to the public as earlier variants.

“The latest round of testing is in line with the encouraging signs we’ve already seen,” said Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for the health security agency.

The risk of being admitted to a hospital for Omicron cases was 65% lower for those who had received two doses of a vaccine, compared to those who had not received any vaccine.

The hospitalization rate was even lower among those who had received three doses of the vaccine, according to the report released by the British Health Safety Agency. According to the agency, people who received booster doses were 81% less likely to be admitted to hospital than people who were not vaccinated.

The agency analyzed 528,176 Omicron cases and 573,012 Delta cases between November 22 and December 26 to assess the risk of hospitalization in England. The researchers included all cases diagnosed in the community and then assessed the risk of general hospital admission or emergency care admission.

In a second study, the agency looked only at symptomatic cases, linked to hospitalization data, and found that three doses of a vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization by 88% for people with the variant. Omicron, compared to unvaccinated people with this variant.

While the results are encouraging, the agency said it would take longer to assess the severity of Omicron infections after admission to hospital.

Nicholas Davies, assistant professor of mathematical modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, warned that the report mainly covered a mix of younger patients. “The Omicron wave starts with the youngest,” he said in an interview. “It is important to keep in mind that we do not yet have a lot of data on the risks in the elderly.”

But he added that the results were still encouraging, saying: “It seems people are experiencing less severe results. “

Health officials have noted that Omicron presents a challenge due to the speed at which it moves through audiences. The vaccines are less effective at preventing infections than was the case with other variants, the results show.

“The efficacy of the vaccine against symptomatic diseases with the Omicron variant is significantly lower than that of the Delta variant and decreases rapidly,” according to the report. “Nonetheless, the protection against hospitalization is much better than that against symptomatic illness, especially after a booster dose, where the effectiveness of the vaccine against hospitalization is close to 90%.

The findings help explain why there has not been a surge of patients rushed to hospital even as the number of infections in England has surpassed any previous wave.

Peter Openshaw, a member of the UK’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, said on Friday that transmission of the new variant requires only low exposure.

“Omicron is so contagious,” Mr Openshaw told the BBC. “We’re really lucky it wasn’t so contagious when it first passed to human-to-human transmission. It almost only takes one puff of infected breath and you could be infected. “

In the week before Christmas, coronavirus infections have increased in all parts of England, according to the Office of National Statistics. London was the epicenter, with an estimate one in 15 infected in the week before Christmas.

At the same time, the National Health Service reported that the number of hospital staff absent from work rose 31% from the previous week, with 24,632 workers sick or needing to self-isolate.

“The wave continues to rise and hospital admissions are increasing,” England Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said, warned in a post on Twitter.

Releasing its technical findings, the health security agency noted that its report did not explain how the variant would affect the health system’s ability to function. Experts noted that the large number of infections could yet cause a wave of patients to overwhelm hospitals.

But data released by the UK health agency offered encouraging signs for people worried about their individual risk and even more evidence that vaccinations still play a key role in keeping people from worse outcomes.

And that seemed to be in line with studies from South Africa and Denmark, where Omicron would have had a bit more time to work its way through populations.

In a number of lab studies, scientists have found evidence to suggest that T cells in vaccinated people may provide a strong defense against the variant, which could help prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death. .

The South African government said on Thursday that data from its health department suggested the country had passed his Omicron peak without a major spike in deaths, offering cautious hope to other countries struggling with the variant.

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Newsrust - US Top News: UK report finds people with Omicron less likely to need hospitalization
UK report finds people with Omicron less likely to need hospitalization
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