People catching Omicron are between 50% and 70% less likely to need hospital care compared with previous variants, the UK’s Health Security Agency has said.

The HSA has said that its early findings are ‘encouraging’ but that the variant could still lead to large numbers of people in hospital.  It also shows the vaccine’s ability to stop you catching Omicron starts to wane 10 weeks after a booster dose.

This report follows on from data in South Africa, Denmark, England and Scotland which all pointed to Omicron being easier to spread, but having reduced severity.

The BBC has reported that the latest analysis is based on all cases of Omicron and Delta in the UK since the beginning of November, including 132 people admitted to hospital with the variant. There have also been 14 deaths in people within 28 days of catching Omicron. 

The report shows people catching Omicron are:

  • 31% to 45% less likely to go to A&E
  • 50% to 70% less likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment

However, a milder virus could still put pressure on hospitals.

Dr Jenny Harries, the chief executive of the UKHSA, 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.’

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