People with Omicron up to 70pc less likely to need visit to hospital
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People with Omicron are between 50pc and 70pc less likely to be admitted to hospital than those with the Delta variant.
According to preliminary findings from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the Omicron variant appears to result in less severe diseases in comparison to Delta.
However, the agency warned that the new strain is more transmissible than previous variants such as Delta, and could still lead to large numbers of people needing hospital treatment over coming weeks.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the latest data as “promising” but urged the public to remain cautious over the Christmas break, adding it was “still too early to determine next steps”.
Mr Javid said: “This new UKHSA data on Omicron is promising – while two doses of the vaccine aren’t enough, we know boosters offer significant protection against the variant and early evidence suggests this strain may be less severe than Delta.
“However, cases of the variant continue to rise at an extraordinary rate – already surpassing the record daily number in the pandemic. Hospital admissions are increasing, and we cannot risk the NHS being overwhelmed.
“This is early-stage analysis and we continue to monitor the data hour by hour. It is still too early to determine next steps, so please stay cautious this Christmas and get your booster as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
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The announcement comes as the UK experienced yet another record-breaking number of daily reported Covid cases, with 119,789 reported as of 9am on Thursday (December 23).