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South Africa’s Omicron Wave Seems to Be Subsiding Just As Fast As It Exploded

South Africa’s Omicron Wave Seems to Be Subsiding Just As Fast As It Exploded

It’s a glimmer of hope for the United States as the wave of Omicron appears to be milder than originally anticipated, according to preliminary studies published in the UK and South Africa.

Early evidence suggests fewer people are needing hospital treatment than with other variants, with estimates ranging from a 30% to a 70% reduction. But the concern remains that even if Omicron is milder, the sheer number of cases could overwhelm hospitals.

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More than 100,000 cases have been reported in the UK in a single day for the first time, and the Omicron variant is accounting for all new COVID cases in the U.S. and 73% of the country’s total cases.

Experts say a deeper understanding of the severity of Omicron will help other countries decide how to respond to the virus.

The BBC reports that a study in Scotland has been tracking coronavirus and the number of people ending up in the hospital. It says that if Omicron behaved the same as Delta, they would expect about 47 people to have been admitted to the hospital already. At the moment there are only 15. The Scottish researchers said they were seeing a roughly two-thirds reduction in the number needing hospital care, but there were very few cases and few at-risk elderly people in the study.

Meanwhile, another study in South Africa also points to the Omicron wave being milder. It showed people were 70-80% less likely to need hospital treatment, depending on whether Omicron is compared to previous waves, or other variants currently circulating.

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The reduction in severity is thought to be a combination of the fundamental properties of the Omicron variant as well as high levels of immunity from vaccinations and previous infections. The study suggests that Omicron’s mutations have made it a milder variant of the virus than Delta’s.

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