‘No evidence’ Omicron less severe than Delta, say UK researchers

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The number of cases of Covid-19 in the UK surged to over 93,000, reaching a record high for the third consecutive day on Friday.

Imperial College London researchAnalysis of UK infection data casts doubt on some experts’ expectations that changes in the pathogenicity of new variants will limit pressure on the medical system, based on reports from South African medics. increase.

An emergency ministerial meeting will be held on Saturday to look up the latest Omicron data, which a government official said was “quite dark.” Another described the variant threat as “potentially pretty scary.”

Studies have also shown that coronavirus booster shots provide about 85% protection against serious illness caused by Omicron and may provide more than 90% protection against death 60 days after administration. It became clear.

However, imperial epidemiologist and one of the authors of the study, Professor Azra Ghani, said record levels of infection by Omicron could still lead to “a large number of people in need of hospitalization.” ..

Another high-ranking government official said concerns were rising. London hospital pressure, The epicenter of Omicron, England. “It was another record day of the incident … and we are closely monitoring London hospitalization data,” he said.

In the worst-case scenario, the Omicron wave kills thousands of people each day, which could exceed the peak of last winter, the study said. However, Crab emphasized that the numbers are “an example of the need to act, not predict.”

Several options for further restrictions, the so-called “Plan C”, were created by the authorities and submitted to Boris Johnson on Friday. Those who knew the plan said it ranged from “gentle guidance for nudge people to blockade.”

Approximately 93,045 people tested positive within the last 24 hours, an increase of nearly 60% from 58,194 reported a week ago. Meanwhile, 861,306 booster shots took place across the UK, marking a record day for rollouts.

“It’s 50:50 at this point if our approach is Scottish guidance,” said one government official, reflecting Nicola Sturgeon’s request to limit socialization to three households. It states. “

Johnson’s allies said they would like to continue their “guidance” approach rather than imposing stricter restrictions. “Boris is afraid to confuse two Christmass in a row, but he must also be realistic about the threats we face,” one said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spends the weekend considering phone calls from business For new support packages For pubs and restaurants suffering from business collapse as more people cancel Christmas gatherings.

A chart showing that the London case peaked last winter, and now the key question is whether more serious consequences will follow.

Professor Niall Ferguson, a British government scientific adviser who led the empire study, said “time is important” if the government wants to make “additional decisions” on further restrictions, “to be done next week. I need to. ” One or two to have a substantial impact. ”

“If there are enough cases per day, the number of hospitalizations that result can be a potential major challenge for any healthcare system,” he added.

Ferguson said the data “did not provide an essentially reduced severity signal of Omicron vs. Delta.” But he added that “much more definitive decisions” could be made “within a week” as data on Omicron-related hospitalizations, which are increasing “quite sharply” in London and Manchester, increase. rice field.

The severity findings were based on an analysis of 24 Omicron hospitalizations and more than 1,000 Delta hospitalizations, as well as 120,000 Delta cases and 15,000 suspicious Omicron cases. Preliminary studies suggest that people infected with Omicron are as symptomatic as Delta patients and are more likely to require hospital treatment.

Gani said the results show “the importance of providing booster doses.” Without the booster dose, those vaccinated with the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine would have about 20% less protection against serious illnesses from Omicron and 40% with BioNTech / Pfizer by 6 months after the second vaccination. May drop to.

However, the authors state that this is the worst-case scenario, where the decline can be suppressed by extending the lifespan of protection provided by the second line of defense of the immune system, T and B cells. increase.

By 6 months after the second dose, the second dose of AstraZeneca provided 0-5% protection against symptomatic infections, and the second dose of BioNTech / Pfizer was about 20%, according to the study. It has decreased from about 30-60%. For each delta.

Studies also found that Omicron carries a five-fold higher risk of reinfection compared to the Delta strain. This means that protection against reinfection can be as low as 19% from 85% before Omicron attacks.

Video: How Covid-19 Changed Hospital Health Care

‘No evidence’ Omicron less severe than Delta, say UK researchers Source link ‘No evidence’ Omicron less severe than Delta, say UK researchers

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