New data shows omicron causes less severe disease than delta, leads to fewer hospitalizations - CNET

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For the astir up-to-date quality and accusation astir the coronavirus pandemic, sojourn the WHO and CDC websites.

Compared to the delta variant, omicron causes little terrible illness for patients, according to information shared Wednesday by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, manager of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, astatine a COVID-19 effect briefing

Walensky cited a preprint study published Tuesday that looked astatine information from astir 52,000 radical infected with the omicron variant, and astir 17,000 infected with delta, successful confederate California. Compared to patients who had the delta variant, omicron patients had a 53% reduced hazard of hospitalization, a 74% reduced hazard of ICU admittance and a 91% reduced hazard of death. The survey has not yet been peer-reviewed.

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Also, Walensky said, nary of the radical infected with omicron required mechanical ventilation. This backs up different survey from researchers successful Hong Kong who recovered that portion highly contagious, omicron isn't arsenic bully astatine replicating successful the lungs arsenic delta, apt starring to little terrible disease. 

The caller probe besides adds to what researchers from galore different countries including South Africa person found: Though more contagious than immoderate different variant, omicron doesn't look to beryllium making radical rather arsenic sick arsenic the delta variant did. And erstwhile it does marque radical sick capable to necessitate hospitalization, those infirmary stays thin to beryllium shorter, Walensky noted Wednesday. 

But shorter infirmary stays doesn't mean nary infirmary stays, and it doesn't mean nary deaths. The immense fig of radical getting infected with COVID-19 volition strain infirmary systems -- already struggling successful immoderate states -- which could impact attraction and the outcomes for radical who bash request to beryllium hospitalized. And overwhelmed hospitals don't lone impact COVID-19 patients, they impact everyone who needs attraction for thing that could crook superior oregon adjacent fatal if near untreated.

In summation to omicron's unthinkable grade of transmissibility oregon contagiousness compared to earlier variants, the caller variant is besides starring to galore breakthrough cases successful radical who are afloat vaccinated, and reinfections successful radical who've already had COVID-19. In bid to lessen the load of ample numbers of radical getting sick astatine once, wellness officials are encouraging everyone eligible (age 12 and up) to stay "up to date" and get a COVID-19 booster shot. 

Omicron has been causing record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases successful the US, and this "staggering" regular lawsuit complaint has led to a precocious fig of full hospitalizations, Walensky said. Data from different countries volition proceed to supply knowing connected what we tin expect successful the coming weeks erstwhile COVID-19 cases are predicted to highest successful the US, Walensky said. 

"I privation to underscore the value that the up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination with boosters prevents terrible illness and keeps you retired of the hospital," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the main aesculapian advisor to the president, said Wednesday. 

Read more: US Army's 'super vaccine' could support against each COVID variants. What bash we know?

As scientists proceed to larn much astir omicron each day, and set guidance accordingly, here's what we cognize astir the caller variant and COVID-19 symptoms now. 

What is simply a mutation oregon variant? 

Some mutations successful omicron's spike protein are akin to ones recovered successful the delta variant, according to South Africa's Department of Health, arsenic good arsenic mutations recovered successful the alpha, gamma and beta variants -- each classified as variants of interest by the World Health Organization.

Omicron has much mutations connected its spike macromolecule than the delta variant does, but scientists are moving to recognize what that means.

The coronavirus enters our cells utilizing its "corona," oregon furniture of macromolecule spikes, past makes copies of itself successful our bodies, wherever inevitably determination are immoderate errors oregon mutations, arsenic explained by Yale Medicine. Sometimes those mutations successful the microorganism are harmless, but different times -- similar successful the lawsuit of the delta and omicron variants -- they marque it overmuch easier for the microorganism to dispersed from idiosyncratic to idiosyncratic and infect much people. 

The much radical who are unvaccinated oregon without immunity from COVID-19, the much opportunities determination are for the coronavirus to dispersed and signifier concerning variants. 

"I deliberation what you're seeing is conscionable the manifestation of what we've been talking about," Fauci told NBC in November. "Why it is truthful important for radical to get vaccinated, and for those who are afloat vaccinated to get boosted."

Apart from vaccine hesitancy, galore radical successful countries extracurricular the US don't person entree to a COVID-19 vaccine. According to Our World successful Data, 9.5% of radical successful low-income countries person received a dose of coronavirus vaccine. 

"The emergence of the omicron variant should beryllium a wake-up telephone to the satellite that vaccine inequality cannot beryllium allowed to continue," South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, said successful a November address

At a caller property briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the US has shipped 300 cardinal COVID-19 vaccine doses retired for donation, a milestone, helium said, successful the White House pledge to donate 1.2 cardinal doses of COVID-19 vaccine to different countries. 

What are the symptoms of omicron vs. delta?

In a Dec. 10 study by the CDC, the details of 43 omicron cases (some of the archetypal successful the US) were revealed. When it came to symptoms, astir radical (89%) reported a cough, 65% were fatigued and 59% of them were congested oregon had a runny nose. Only 8% of the 43 radical reported losing their consciousness of odor oregon taste, which has affected galore radical with erstwhile COVID-19 infections, caused by different variants. Fourteen percent of radical successful the study had COVID-19 previously. 

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a South African doc who helped observe omicron, told the BBC successful precocious November that truthful acold patients she's seen with the omicron variant person "extremely mild cases" of COVID-19. Those symptoms included fatigue, headache and a scratchy throat, she said, not the telltale nonaccomplishment of odor oregon a cough associated with earlier COVID-19 infections. 

However, the delta variant whitethorn person somewhat changed the mode COVID-19 presents. Cough and nonaccomplishment of odor are besides little communal symptoms of COVID-19 caused by the delta variant compared with earlier variants, per the Baton Rouge General, a Mayo Clinic network. Cold symptoms similar a headache and runny chemoreceptor are present much communal symptoms of COVID-19, according to the UK's ZOE COVID Study.

How bash you trial for omicron? 

A COVID-19 trial won't archer you which variant you have. In bid for scientists to find whether it's omicron oregon different coronavirus variant, the CDC uses genomic sequencing. According to Walensky, the CDC director, the US is present investigating 80,000 affirmative COVID-19 samples per week (about 1 successful 7 affirmative tests), up from 8,000 per week earlier this year.

Fortunately, the omicron variant is easily detected done PCR tests, according to Fauci, which tin past beryllium confirmed done labs that usage genomic sequencing. 

Read more: Can you archer which COVID variant you have?

The accusation contained successful this nonfiction is for acquisition and informational purposes lone and is not intended arsenic wellness oregon aesculapian advice. Always consult a doc oregon different qualified wellness supplier regarding immoderate questions you whitethorn person astir a aesculapian information oregon wellness objectives.

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