As the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus takes over the globe, Public Health Scotland has announced some "qualified good news": their research, which looked at over 5 million individuals, showed that those who were infected with Omicron in November and December were around two-thirds less likely to be hospitalized compared to those who had the Delta variant.
According to Today, the organization also noted that the majority of those infected with the Omicron strain had caught COVID-19 before.
Though the research didn't look at the elderly, it's certainly an optimistic statistic, but Dr. Jim McMenamin noted, "It's important that we don’t get ahead of ourselves. The potentially serious impact of Omicron on a population can't be underestimated."
Added Harvard professor Bill Hanage, "It doesn’t mean that we are able to throw caution to the wind and have a big holiday party in which we get all of our elderly relatives together and start coughing on them."
A second study conducted in South Africa found that those who were infected with Omicron were three-fourths less likely to be hospitalized.
A recent report from Johannesburg also provided some positive news: South Africa, which is regarded as ground-zero for the Omicron strain, has been seeing a decreased number of infections, meaning they may have passed the peak.
"The drop in new cases nationally combined with the sustained drop in new cases seen here in Gauteng province, which for weeks has been the center of this wave, indicates that we are past the peak," stated Marta Nunes, a researcher who works at the University of Witwatersrand's Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics department. "It was a short wave, and the good news is that it was not very severe in terms of hospitalizations and deaths."
However, Nunes pointed out that it's currently summer in South Africa, so many people are gathering outdoors, which could lead to less spreading of the virus.
"Each setting, each country is different," she said. "The populations are different. The demographics of the population, the immunity is different in different countries."
AP News reported that Omicron currently makes up 73 percent of COVID cases in America.