Oxford University Scientist Claims Omicron Is ‘Not The Same Disease’ As Older Coronavirus Variants

According to John Bell, a regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford and the life sciences advisor to the UK government, the terrible spectacles observed in prior Covid-19 waves are “now history.”

On Tuesday, Bell spoke to BBC Radio 4 about data from the United Kingdom, where cases are shattering records and hospitalizations are at their peak since March. He claims that vaccination rates in intensive care units are still “very, very low.”

“The incidence of severe disease and death from this disease [Covid] has basically not changed since we all got vaccinated and that’s really important to remember,” he said.

“The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago — intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely — that is now history in my view and I think we should be reassured that that’s likely to continue.”

The condition appears to be less serious for people infected with the omicron variant, and many people just stay in the hospital for a short time.  They don’t require high-flow oxygen, and the typical duration of stay is three days. This is not the same sickness we were seeing a year ago, he said of the omicron variant.

According to a government research published Thursday in the United Kingdom, those who have the Covid omicron variant are considerably less likely to be admitted to the hospital compared to those who had the prior delta strain.

Individuals with omicron are projected to be between 31 per cent and 45 per cent less likely to visit emergency rooms compared to those who are infected with delta, and 50 per cent to 70 per cent less likely to need hospital admissions, according to the United Kingdom’s Health Security Agency.

Because of the tiny number of omicron patients now in hospitals, the research is “preliminary and highly questionable,” but it aligns with comparable findings from South African scientists and research teams at Imperial College London and the University of Edinburgh.

Despite the fact that the number of daily deaths is still low, and preliminary research indicates that the omicron variant is not as dangerous as other Covid-19 strains, health experts have warned repeatedly that the sheer number of infections could result in rising fatalities and an overburdened healthcare system.

Even if omicron proves to be “milder” than other strains, the potential caseload in the United Kingdom, where the virus is rampant, could double or triple the number of people needing hospitalization, according to Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, who told CNBC via email last week.

“At a time when NHS (National Health Service) is a) greatly depleted by omicron and b) massively stressed and weary after two hard years on the frontline, this would be unacceptable,” he said, adding that “no green shoots yet” exist.

(Adapted from CNBC.com)



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