Perhaps good news for individuals, but bad news for hospitals.
From the Washington Post, about a study conducted in Scotland with apparently a population with characteristics close to the US:
The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that people infected with the omicron variant were almost 60 percent less likely to enter the hospital than those infected with delta, the globally dominant variant is being eclipsed rapidly.
The Scottish scientists said that recently vaccinated people appear to have some protection against symptomatic infection from omicron but less so than against delta. A third dose or booster of an mRNA vaccine was associated with a 57 percent reduction in the odds of developing symptomatic covid-19. Boosters gave better protection against the delta variant — more than 80 percent.
That group, led by Neil Ferguson, reported that those infected by omicron were 15 to 20 percent less likely to go to an emergency room with severe symptoms and 40 percent less likely to be hospitalized overnight, when compared with those infected by delta.
But they say the numbers are too small to reach definitive conclusions.
Still, those aren't odds I'm interested in playing. The unvaccinated clearly don't care anyway, but will no doubt use this as justification to stay unvaccinated, even though many of them will still die.
Ferguson also urged caution.
“Our analysis shows evidence of a moderate reduction in the risk of hospitalization associated with the omicron variant compared with the delta variant,” he said. “However, this appears to be offset by the reduced efficacy of vaccines against infection with the omicron variant.”
Ferguson stressed that given the high transmissibility of the omicron variant, “there remains the potential for health services to face increasing demand if omicron cases continue to grow at the rate that has been seen in recent weeks.”
To my surprise, new US COVID cases on Tuesday were down from Monday, 189,030 compared to 276,389. But they'll be higher today. We'll see how much higher.