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HomeNewsEarly reports suggest Omicron may be less severe

Early reports suggest Omicron may be less severe

The Omicron variant spreads quickly, but the resulting infection may be less severe than other forms of the coronavirus. Researchers in South Africa said that their Covid-19 wards were almost unrecognizable from previous phases of the pandemic, with few patients on oxygen machines.
A report from doctors at a major hospital complex in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, said that coronavirus patients with the variant were less sick than those they had treated before. Most of their infected patients were admitted for other reasons and had no Covid symptoms. The findings are preliminary, however, and have not been peer-reviewed.
Scientists cautioned against placing too much stock in either the potential good news of less severity, or bad news like early evidence that previous infection offers little immunity to Omicron. The variant was discovered just last month, and hospitalizations and deaths often lag outbreaks considerably. Still, Covid deaths have not yet risen in South Africa despite surging case numbers.
By the numbers: Of the 166 patients with the coronavirus admitted from Nov. 14 to Nov. 29 to the hospital complex, the average stay was 2.8 days, and fewer than 7 percent died. Over the previous 18 months, the average stay for such patients was 8.5 days, and 17 percent died.
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