Update on Omicron

Omicron has filled up U.S. hospitals with more COVID-19 patients than any other surge of the pandemic. But there’s been a shift in how the illness behaves since the days of delta, with many cases, even hospitalized ones, milder and quicker to treat. 

In Addition, Covid-19 is still dangerous but it’s also increasingly clear that omicron is less likely to inflict the same level of damage as the delta variant. Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of infectious disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham states, ”The percentage with omicron is considerably lower.” It’s fortunate because omicron is so contagious that even with a smaller proportion of patients getting very ill, the absolute numbers are still enormous. 

As a result, new hospital admissions have been higher than during any other surge. “When you have so many more people who are being affected by the storm, you are still going to end up with an overwhelmed health care system,” says Bell, who’s an assistant professor of medicine at UVA. Additionally, during the omicron surge, the rate of hospital admissions has been 27 per 1,000 cases compared with 78 per 1,000 when delta was dominant, according to the CDC study that analyzed data collected from about 200 U.S. hospitals between the beginning of December to mid-January. 

An article in the New York Times states “The risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit during omicron was about 26% lower than during the delta surges and patients were also less likely to die in the hospital, the CDC study found. In-hospital mortality fell from about 12% with delta cases to 7% with omicron.”

Written by Staff Writer: Emily Curiel