ONE preprint study published on Tuesday assessed that patients infected with the omicron variant had “significantly reduced risk” of severe outcomes than delta patients, which is in line with previous research suggesting that omicron cases may cause less serious illness.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, used modeling to determine that the omicron strain was about half as likely to send patients to California hospitals as the delta variant. Patients admitted with the omicron strain were also more likely to have shorter hospital stays than delta patients.
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rochelle WalenskyRochelle Walensky Overnight Health Care – Biden officials take heat at Senate hearing Biden health officials slam on hearing for confusing pandemic announcements Watch live: Fauci, Walensky testifies before Senate panel MORE called the results of the study “consistent” with other research during a White House briefing on Wednesday.
“The data in this study remain consistent with what we see from omicron in other countries, including South Africa and the UK, and provide some understanding of what to expect in the coming weeks, as cases are expected to peak in this country. , ” she said.
Still, Walensky warned that the high portability of omicron has caused an exponential increase in COVID-19 cases, which regardless of its severity puts pressure on hospitals.
“Although we see early evidence that omicron is less severe than delta and that those infected are less likely to require hospitalization, it is important to note that omicron remains much more transmissible than delta,” she said.
“The sudden and steep increase in cases due to omicron results in unprecedented daily case numbers, illness, absenteeism and strains on our healthcare system,” she continued.
The study involved more than 52,000 omicron patients and nearly 17,000 delta patients in Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s healthcare system between November 30 and January 1, with both variants spreading.
Researchers found a 53 percent reduced risk of hospitalization and a 74 percent reduced risk of intensive care unit among omicron patients. No omicron patients needed to go in ventilator compared to 11 delta patients. One person infected with omicron died while the system recorded 14 deaths among patients with delta.
The median length of hospital stay among omicron patients was also almost 3.5 days shorter than those infected with delta.
As the more transmissible strain, the omicron variant became dominant during the study period. Now, the CDC estimates that 98 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the country are caused by omicron, Walensky said Wednesday.
Cases have increased nationwide since mid-December, reaching an average of more than 750,000 new daily cases, exceeding previous increases. Hospital admissions and deaths also rise to nearly 20,000 and 1,600 a day, respectively, Walensky said.
The CDC director urged Americans to help strained hospitals and health systems by masking in public indoor environments and being vaccinated and boosted, noting the lower risk of hospitalization among the “up-to-date” with their COVID-19 shots.
“We must do – we are all doing our part to protect our hospitals and our neighbors and reduce the further spread of this virus,” she said at the briefing.
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