The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 is milder than the Delta variant, according to a report from the British government, which will release the early data in the coming days.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), which operates much like the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that those who contract Omicron are less likely to become severely ill compared to people who get the Delta variant, according to the data, reports Politico.
“More people are likely to have a mild illness with less serious symptoms — probably in part due to Britain’s large number of vaccinated and previously infected people, and possibly because Omicron may be intrinsically milder,” Politico reported. “Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has previously cautioned against too much optimism based on the initial optimistic signs from South Africa in the past few weeks. However, the UKHSA’s view after studying cases in Britain is that Omicron is indeed usually less severe than Delta.”
But the report included one caveat. “The less good news is that while Omicron seems milder overall, the UKHSA has found it is not necessarily mild enough to avoid large numbers of hospitalizations. The experts have found evidence that for those who do become severely ill, there is still a high chance of hospitalization and death.”