Omicron has already started creating chaos, and now people are wondering if they are going to experience the same mayhem the Delta variant of COVID-19 had caused earlier in 2021. Well, if you are also terrified of going through the same agony again, here is good news for you!
As per the initial research and studies, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 poses 50 to 70 per cent fewer chances of hospitalisation as compared to the previous strains. They, however, have cautioned to be careful as it still has the potential to lead many people to the hospitals. Following safety protocols sincerely can help us in minimising the spread of this wave.
What do the experts believe?
The UK Health Security Agency has claimed that the initial results of the research suggest that most of the infected people would recover without any hospital care but still, the variant can cause a lot of damage.
Defining the reason behind the potential threat, the experts explained that the Omicron variant spreads way faster than the Delta variant and also has the capability to dodge the vaccine, which the earlier strains were unable to do. Hence, it may infect a larger number of people and hence, can cause too many hospitalisations.
Countries to have conducted the study
Studies conducted across all the countries including England, South Africa, Scotland and Denmark have shown similar results. All of them have accepted the new strain to be far more contagious but milder in terms of symptoms. It is important to know that it can also cause moderate to severe illness as well as death.
Why should we still be worried?
The United Kingdom has been one of the worst affected countries in terms of Omicron spread as of now. Since November this year, a total of 132 people have been admitted to the hospital after contracting the Omicron variant. Out of these, 14 people have died within 28 days of being infected.
The study has highlighted some interesting insights. Have a look:
- People contracting Omicron are 31-45% less likely to require emergency treatment.
- They have 50-70% fewer chances of being hospitalised.
The concerning thing is that the virus may be causing milder symptoms but this advantage may go down the drain because of its higher contagiousness.
Moreover, the experts are still not sure what this strain is going to do with the older people, people with comorbid conditions, unvaccinated population. Due to the high rate of transmission, it can burden the healthcare system and cause a lot of problems if taken lightly. The threat of delta is not over yet, as it is still the dominant variant.
Why is Omicron causing milder symptoms?
Omicron has been presenting itself with milder symptoms because of the combination of people’s immunity and certain changes to the virus itself.
The initial studies have found out that most of the people who have contracted the new variant have been infected before with the previous variants or have already taken the vaccination. Both of these qualities provide a robust defence mechanism against the virus.
The lab studies have also shown that the way the Omicron variant infects our body is also different from the Delta variant. Unlike its predecessor, Omicron infects the airways of the person instead of messing up the deep tissues of the lungs, which makes it easier for it to spread, but milder as it stays away from the delicate parts of the lungs.
Are the same precautions still effective?
The precautions and steps to be taken remain the same as before. It is essential to mask yourself properly, take both doses of vaccines (if not yet vaccinated), maintain physical distancing, follow hand hygiene, respiratory etiquettes and maintain good ventilation to the maximum possible.
The Omicron variant may be able to cause breakthrough infection but vaccinations do prevent the chances of severe infection. Hence, vaccination is still our best shield against this or any upcoming variant of COVID-19.
Omicron for sure is here to modify our New Year plans, but with a little caution and determination, we surely can protect ourselves and our loved ones from this virus and finally push COVID-19 to the endemic stage, where it was supposed to be by the start of the year 2022. So, please keep wearing masks and avoid large gatherings till instructed otherwise. Stay safe and happy.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.