Despite a huge wave of New Yorkers coming down with the new Omicron variant, hospital ICU admissions have plunged, according to a new report.
“At Northwell Health, New York state’s largest hospital network, about 10% of recent Covid-19 patients are ending up in the ICU compared with 25%-35% in previous surges, said Mangala Narasimhan, director of critical-care services,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The doctor also said vaccinated people are faring better than the unvaxxed.
“Fully vaccinated patients are staying for an average of four days, Dr. Narasimhan said, compared with almost two weeks for unvaccinated patients. Patients are generally younger, and a greater share is white than during other surges, she said. Officials in the U.K. and South Africa have also reported lower rates of serious illness from Omicron than previous strains of the virus,” the Journal reported.
Meanwhile, a new study found the risk of winding up in the intensive care unit with — or dying from — the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is 83% less compared to the Delta strain. In addition, the risk of hospitalization for an Omicron infection is 65% less than Delta, the Canadian study found.
Despite the seemingly good news, the researchers still had a warning. “While severity is likely to be reduced, the absolute number of hospitalizations and impact on the healthcare system may nevertheless be significant due to the increased transmissibility of Omicron.”
“Nevertheless, Omicron appears to demonstrate lower disease severity for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. While severity is likely to be reduced, the absolute number of hospitalizations and impact on the healthcare system is likely to be significant due to the large number of Omicron infections,” the study says.
The Canadian study mirrors findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate of hospitalizations of Americans with COVID-19 has dropped 50% amid the new Omicron variant compared to record highs seen a year ago, new CDC data shows.
Even though the rate of cases has more than tripled since Omicron emerged around Thanksgiving — earlier this week there were more than 1 million new cases diagnosed on a single day — just 3% of people with the virus are being admitted in hospitals, data from the CDC shows.
That rate is less than half the 6.5% of cases that needed hospitalization exactly a year ago, when the average daily case count was about 250,000, the data shows. CDC data shows deaths from the virus are less than a third of what was recorded last January at about 1,200 per day, far fewer than the record high of 3,400 a year ago.
The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 now accounts for nearly every new case of the virus blanketing the U.S., according to the CDC.
The new strain represented 95.4% of sequenced COVID-19 cases during the week ending on New Year’s Day, while the once-dominant Delta variant made up just only 4.6% of sequenced cases, the CDC said.
Omicron took over in just a matter of weeks. At the beginning of December, the variant accounted for less than 1% of sequenced cases, with Delta making up 99% of them. By the week ending on Christmas Day, the CDC estimated the Omicron variant to be 58.6% of all new cases.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to email@example.com.
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