UK Health Service: Omicron hospital admission risk 50 to 70 per cent lower, but concerns remain

UK Health Service: Omicron hospital admission risk 50 to 70 per cent lower, but concerns remain

Crowds in Oxford’s shopping streets before Christmas. The Occupational Safety and Health Services Authority (UKHSA) stresses that it is “too early” to draw consequences from these findings and, for example, start mitigating.AFP photo

The results are “encouraging” according to the UKHSA and are an important indication that omikron is indeed milder than other virus variants. Previous findings from South African research and another British study also pointed to this trend.

However, the health services see no reason to be cheerful. According to the researchers, the latest numbers are still “premature” because the variable is now being generalized mainly among young people, who are at lower risk of hospitalization anyway. It remains unclear what will happen to the admission numbers if the omikron also reaches older population groups.

Furthermore, even if the omicron turns out to be milder, the high prevalence of the infectious variant could lead to higher stresses in hospitals. The British assert that it is “too early” to attach consequences to these results, for example, to start mitigating. The number of ring road accidents has increased rapidly in recent times. The British government’s Scientific Advisory Group (Sage) warns that, in the absence of additional measures, the omikron variant must be 90 percent less moderate than delta if care is unstoppable.

There is no buffer

Although the progress of omikron in the Netherlands is one to two weeks later than in the UK, there are similar concerns about the progression of the variant. Even if the omicron turns out to be milder, the surge in infections will likely lead to problems in hospitals here as well.

“Suppose the alternative leads to twice the rate of hospitalization, but three times faster: then hospital admissions will continue with the same lockdown-like measures,” epidemiologist Alma Tostman said Thursday. de Volkskrant. Moreover, Dutch hospitals have barely recovered from the wave of virus for the Delta variant in recent months, so they have little buffer.

It is expected that it will not be known until in a few weeks how Omicron actually works. Only then will it become clear whether the elderly also suffer from milder complaints, since in Denmark and England the variant is currently circulating mainly among young people.

He’s also likely to be more clear about how vaccines and medicines work. Preliminary studies show that its effectiveness is decreasing. RIVM President Jaap van Diesel warned in a briefing to the House of Representatives on Tuesday that vaccines appear to be “four to five times less effective” against omicron contamination. Vaccines’ protection from hospitalization is still very good, and after a booster dose its efficacy returns to around 90%.

The new variant is currently responsible for about 10 to 15 percent of infections in the Netherlands. Thursday’s sample in Amsterdam showed Omicron (at 63 per cent) may indeed be dominant.

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