The decade's most triggering comedy
Amid endless breathless reports across the mainstream media about the new Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, it’s easy to lose sight of ever-growing evidence that the strain appears less deadly than the Delta variant that plagued the U.S.
While intensive care unit hospitalizations from Omicron are way down compared to those from Delta, reports are everywhere that hospitals are being pushed to the breaking point amid the new variant. But now a new report has come out that said nearly half of those admitted to hospitals in New York were admitted for reasons other than COVID-19.
“Under pressure from Governor Kathy Hochul, hospitals in New York have disclosed that nearly half of their so-called COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized were admitted for other reasons,” the Daily Mail reported. “Of the roughly 11,500 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in the state, COVID was not included as one of the reasons for admission for 43 percent, according to data Hochul released on Friday.”
“In New York City, the rate was even higher, with 51 percent of current COVID patients classified as ‘with’ COVID, as opposed to ‘for’ the virus. In patients ‘with’ COVID, they were hospitalized for unrelated reasons, such as injuries in a car crash, but tested positive for the virus on the routine screening administered to all new patients and were subsequently reclassified as COVID admissions,” the UK paper reported.
The new report follows another from last week that said the risk of winding up in the intensive care unit or dying from the Omicron is 83% less compared to the Delta strain.
In addition, the risk of hospitalization or death for an Omicron infection is 65% less than Delta, , according to the Canadian study.
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 — last week there were more than 1 million new cases diagnosed on a single day — just 3% of people with the virus are being admitted to 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. 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, CDC data shows.
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 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 protected].