The risk of ending up in the hospital is two-thirds lower with Omicron, according to new UK research

The UK Health Security Agency has said that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is much less likely to cause hospitalization than the Delta variant. The latest data suggests the risk is one-third of that for Delta.

On Friday, Susan Hopkins, the chief medical advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said that the latest analysis of Omicron was positive, but high levels of virus prevalence would put healthcare under pressure.  

In a study conducted along with the Cambridge University MRC Biostatistics unit, around 528,176 Omicron cases and 573,012 Delta cases were analyzed. The data suggests that people infected with Omicron are two-thirds less likely to end up in the hospital than those infected with the Delta variant, which is still in circulation in the UK. 

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The new strain has driven another wave of Covid-19 infections over the festive period, but some core statistics appear relatively positive. The number of patients requiring mechanical ventilation was steady throughout December, while data suggests vaccines will still work against the virus.

“It remains too early to draw any definitive conclusions on hospital severity, and the increased transmissibility of Omicron and the rising cases in the over 60s population in England means it remains highly likely that there will be significant pressure on the NHS in coming weeks,” Hopkins said.

The analysis largely confirms previous reports that the Omicron strain of Covid is milder than previous variants.

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