Omicron: hospitalization toll lower than with Delta, studies found

Published by Manon C. · Published on 24 December 2021 at 10h15
Two studies carried out in the United-Kingdom tend to show the Omicron variant leads to fewer hospitalizations than the previous Delta variant.

As the Omicron variant is gaining ground in France and likely to predominate very soon, two studies carried out in the United-Kingdom and released this Wednesday December 22, 2021, tried to compare this new variant with the previous Delta variant. Both studies concluded Omicron was less likely to cause hospitalizations than Delta.

Carried out by the Imperial College of London, the first study reported a 20 to 25% decrease in hospitalizations with the Omicron variant compared to the Delta variant – and even a 40 to 45% decrease for one-night or more hospitalizations. “Whilst the reduced risk of hospitalization with the Omicron variant is reassuring, the risk of infection remains extremely high”, author of the study Azra Ghani yet warns.

As for the second study, it came to the conclusion Omicron is “associated with a two-thirds reduction in the risk of Covid-19 hospitalization” and shows a booster delivers an extra protection against symptomatic Covid. Furthermore, “We're saying that this is qualified good news -- qualified because these are early observations, they are statistically significant, and we are showing a reduced risk of hospitalizations”, co-author of the study Jim McMenamin says.

This news does not detract from the extraordinary spread of this variant across the population, and the fact that even a small proportion of people needing hospital care for COVID may become a very large number indeed if the community attack rate continues to escalate”, Prof Penny Ward, Independent Pharmaceutical Physician, and Visiting Professor in Pharmaceutical Medicine at King’s College London, says.

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