A new analysis has revealed that people who get Omicron are 50 to 70 per cent less likely to need hospital treatment than those who catch other variants like Delta.
The United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that its initial findings are "encouraging," but the agency warned that because the variant spreads quickly and so many people are afflicted, the National Health Service (NHS) may still struggle to cope with hospitalisations.
Meanwhile, the health secretary Sajid Javid said that it was "too early" to decide "next steps", reported BBC.
According to the UKHSA, a review of all cases of Omicron and Delta in the country from the beginning of November, which included 132 patients brought to hospital, suggests that those with Omicron are 50 to 70 per cent less likely to require hospital treatment. As per the analysis, they are up to 45 per cent less likely to visit a hospital emergency room and up to 70 per cent less likely to be hospitalised.
While citing the latest analysis, chief executive Jenny Harries said: “Our latest analysis shows an encouraging early signal that people who contract the Omicron variant may be at a relatively lower risk of hospitalisation than those who contract other variants.”
“Cases are currently very high in the UK and even a relatively low proportion requiring hospitalisation could result in a significant number of people becoming seriously ill,” she added.
The problem remains that any advantage of a milder variant could be negated if a large number of people contract Omicron. On 23 December, the United Kingdom reported a total of 119,789 new coronavirus cases, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hinting that more limitations could be imposed after holidays.
Additionally, there is also some ambiguity about what will happen when Omicron reaches older age groups because the majority of those who have caught it and gone to the hospital has been under the age of 40 thus far.
In recent days, the spike in infections has caused personnel shortages in hospitals, transportation networks and other key services, as well as the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have proposed new restrictions that will take effect after Christmas. Johnson, on the other hand, has postponed any decision until more information about Omicron becomes available, while many Conservative MPs are opposed to any new laws.
Javid said that the government was watching the data "hour by hour" while stating that "Cases of the variant continue to rise at an extraordinary rate - already surpassing the record daily number in the pandemic. Hospital admissions are increasing, and we cannot risk the NHS being overwhelmed."
According to some laboratory tests, Omicron affects human bodies in different ways. It infects our airways rather than the deep tissues of the lungs, which could make it easier for the coronavirus variant to spread but also make it milder because it is further away from the fragile portions of the lungs.
As per Prof Ravi Gupta, who performed Covid-19 studies at the University of Cambridge: "The clinical data on reduced severity fit with lab data suggesting Omicron has shifted its preference. Vaccination remains vital to protect against severe disease and also to protect against future variants."
Recently, in the Christmas message, PM Johnson emphasised the need of being vaccinated and taking advantage of the offer of a booster jab, which he vowed to make available to all eligible individuals by the end of this month.
In India, no decision has been made regarding the use of booster jabs. But according to the latest report, health ministry sources said that the government will launch a medical study involving 3,000 people who have been completely vaccinated to see how effective a Covid vaccination booster is against the Omicron variant.
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