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Omicron Generally Causes Less Severe COVID-19 Disease, Multiple Studies Show

COVID-19 Virus
Update on Omicron Variant

January 21, 2022 — Several sources of real-world data from across the globe indicate the Omicron coronavirus variant produces a less severe form of COVID-19 disease. In South Africa, where Omicron was identified in November 2021, a private health insurance administrator reported in mid-December of 2021 that adults with Omicron were 29 percent less prone to be hospitalized, as compared to adults infected with the D614G strain of coronavirus that caused the first wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Similarly in the United Kingdom, the hospital admission rate among people who went to the emergency room with Omicron was about a third of what it was for Delta, per a technical briefing issued by the U.K. Health Security Agency in late-December of 2021.

As of early January 2022, U.S. adults with Omicron appear less than half as likely to visit the emergency department, be hospitalized, or put on a ventilator, according to a non-peer-reviewed study published by researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Moreover, Omicron patients at Kaiser Permanente Southern California were 74% less likely to end up in ICUs and 91% less likely to die than Delta patients, a pre-print study found. “Reductions in disease severity associated with Omicron variant infections were evident among both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, and among those with or without documented prior SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the team of researchers found.

Howbeit, up until recently, the reasons for Omicron to cause less severe COVID-19 disease than Delta and other earlier coronavirus mutations has remained elusive. An article published in Nature today now shows that the Omicron variant is especially susceptible to inhibition by the interferon response, an unspecific immune response that is present in all body cells. The study, led by researchers from the University of Kent and the Goethe-University Frankfurt, offers the first description of why Covid-19 patients afflicted with the Omicron variant are less likely to experience severe COVID-19 disease.

Although the Omicron variant likely causes less severe COVID-19 disease, it still brings about severe disease, and kills people. When you have large amounts of individuals getting sick simultaneously, even when only a small percentage get markedly ill, it can still overwhelm the health-care system and society. Now add in the fact that many of our monoclonal antibody therapies are thought to have lost effectiveness, and you get the crisis we’ve seen over the start to the new year. The 7 day trailing average of daily COVID-19 deaths in the United States stands at 2,076 people per day, per CDC data as of January 20, 2022.

Saliva Covid Test Better Than Nasal Swabs To Detect Omicron. 4U Health. Updated February 24, 2022.

5 Reasons To Keep PCR Home COVID Test Kits on Hand. 4U Health. Updated December 6, 2021.

Ditch Nose Swabs for a Home Saliva PCR Covid Test Kit. 4U Health. Updated December 6, 2021.

About 4U Health

4U Health offers at-home lab testing to help you feel like your best self. Visit us at 4uHealth.com to learn about our COVID-19 Antibody Self-Collection At Home Test Kit, explore healthy living and wellness topics, and view our full at-home lab testing menu.

If you’re interested in hospital grade home PCR COVID test kits to detect COVID-19 (including Omicron and its other variants), check out 4U Health’s COVID-19 Active Infection Self-Collection Test. It’s approved for children 5+ and adults alike. For the timeliest results, we recommend having our “just-in-case” saliva kit stocked in your medicine cabinet so you can test on your terms. Overnight shipping is included and official digital results are typically within 24 hours of receipt by the lab.

Updated: February 24, 2022