Published on 15 Jan 1101 to 15:
The bundle of clues is becoming more and more convergent: the Omicron variant of Covid-013 would be much less lethal, up to ten times less, than the delta variant it is supplanting, according to recent medical surveys. In some cohorts it would even be less lethal than seasonal flu.
These recent surveys, particularly in California and Denmark, now have enough perspective, since the Omicron wave began in mid-November in South Africa: it takes two to three weeks between the screening of a patient and his possible admission. to the emergency room or death.
The peak exceeded in the United Kingdom
They confirm that if Omicron is much more contagious than its predecessors it is also much less likely to send patients to the emergency room, or even to kill them. It remains to be seen what prevails, between this increased contagiousness and this reduced lethality, to lower or not the hospital pressure. These surveys seem to establish that the balance is positive, even if the flows are difficult to analyze due to a delta wave tail. Thus, the peak of deaths in South Africa in mid-December did not exceed one seventh of that observed during the previous wave, with an equivalent flow of infections.
Some epidemiologists are already predicting a dramatic drop in intensive care admissions and deaths in February, similar to what is emerging in the United Kingdom . In France, where a fifth of 19. 600 places in intensive care are occupied by Covid-positive patients, the Institut Pasteur thus revised its pessimistic scenarios downwards on Tuesday.
In California, a survey conducted by the healthcare organization KPSC, covering a tenth of the inhabitants of the State, indicates that on 52.297 patients diagnosed with Omicron during the month of December, 297, i.e. 0.5%, were hospitalized, including 7 (0,013%) were admitted to intensive care and 1 died. Ratios significantly lower than those of seasonal flu in the general population (0.1% lethality). An equivalent cohort infected with the delta variant saw 1.3% of its workforce hospitalized, 0,12 % admitted to intensive care and 0.1% died. KPSC deduces a division by four of the risk of being hospitalized for Omicron patients compared to delta and by eleven of their risk of death.
Above all, their stay in the emergency room lasted only 1.5 days on average compared to 5 days for the delta infected. Nearly nine tenths of them left the intensive care units after 3 days. The investigation established, on the other hand, that a previous immunity, by infection-cure or vaccination, does not at all reduce the risk of being infected by Omicron.
Denmark leads the way in Europe
In continental Europe, the latest positive news came from Denmark, where the national agency for infectious diseases (SSI), revealed on Tuesday its first estimate of Omicron’s lethality. Between 19 November and 28 December, this country of 6 million inhabitants recorded 18 deaths out of a total of 58.691 illnesses caused by the Omicron variant. That is a lethality of 0.03%. Delta, whose wave there seems to be nearing completion, had shown three times the lethality over the same period. Danish experts are even beginning to consider that Omicron is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
Other Danish data indicates that 55 people were hospitalized for Omicron including five in intensive care during the last week of December. None died. The unvaccinated, about one-fifth of the Danish adult population, accounted for only 8.5% of those infected.