Omicron variants can cause less severe illnesses: reported


According to South African data where the mutant was first identified last month, the Omicron virus variant may produce cases of COVID-19 that are less severe than previous strains.

The South African Medical Research Council said that most of the inpatients admitted with COVID-19 did not require oxygen, as opposed to the early stages of the pandemic. New report..

Of the 42 patients in the COVID-19 ward at one of the hospitals in Gauteng, the epicenter of the latest waves, 70% did not require oxygen and had no respiratory symptoms, the researchers said. ..

They described the patient as “accidental COVID admission” because the patient was admitted for medical or surgical reasons rather than COVID-19.

Of the 13 patients in need of oxygen supplementation, 9 were diagnosed with COVID-19.

“This is a picture that was not seen in the previous waves. Through the beginnings of all three previous waves and the process of these waves, patients are constantly scattered in the room air in the COVID ward, and these patients They were usually in the recovery phase and were waiting for a joint resolution. Pre-discharge morbidity, “the researchers said.

“The COVID ward was recognized by the vast majority of patients receiving some form of oxygenation with the constant sound of high-flow nasal oxygen devices or the alarm sound of a ventilator,” they add. rice field.

Another optimistic sign about Omicron? Although cases of COVID-19 have surged recently, in-hospital mortality was 6.6% in the last two weeks before the report was published, compared to 17% in the previous year and a half. period.

“This may be due to the usual delay between cases and death, and trends will become apparent in the coming weeks,” the researchers warned not to overread the new data. Stated.

The first Omicron case in southern Africa dates back to 9 November.

Omicron is a variant of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19.

Since then, cases have surged in South Africa, but the increase in hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 is negligible.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, a practitioner and chairman of the South African Medical Association, said last week that most of Omicron’s patients had mild symptoms and did not require hospital treatment.

There are concerns that variants may be better able to circumvent the protection provided by previous infections and vaccinations, but experts say it is still premature to determine if that is the case. say.

According to the Research Council, most patients in COVID-19 hospitals were unvaccinated.

Meanwhile, many US patients confirmed by authorities to have the Omicron variant were vaccinated. Most people showed only mild symptoms and recovered without going to the hospital.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, US President’s Chief Medical Adviser, said at CNN: on Sunday.

“But we really have to be careful before we decide that it’s not that serious or causes a serious illness comparable to Delta,” he added, “encouraging early signs.” I explained.

Some patients are experiencing serious illness, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, Chief Executive Officer of the World Health Organization, added to the CBS.

“In the first report, people in Omicron tend to get a milder illness, but it’s too early to tell, and the reason is that it takes time for people to go through the entire process of infection. It may take weeks to actually understand how many of those individuals develop severe illness, “she said.

Zachary Stieber


Zachary Stieber features US news and stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.