Despite the spike in hospitalizations, omicrons cause less severe illness

Although the United States is recording more Covid-19 cases and related hospitalizations than ever before, it does not appear that patients are as seriously ill as they were earlier in the pandemic, the Centers for Control and Prevention says. Epidemic said on Tuesday.

Lower rate of Covid patients admitted to intensive care units than ever before, as well as percentage of patients requiring mechanical ventilation, according to CDC study Weekly reports on morbidity and mortality.

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About 13% of hospitalized patients were admitted to the ICU in the past month, down from about 18% between December 2020 and the end of 2021.

And the people in the hospital are not long-term inpatients. The recent median hospital stay was 5.5 days, compared with 7.6 to 8 days in previous pandemics.

The agency said the downward trend could be attributed to a number of factors, including an increase in vaccinations and boosters, and immunity from previous Covid infections. It is also possible that the difference in the omicron variation makes it less virulent than earlier strains.

However, healthcare systems are still overwhelmed with Covid patients, as well as coronavirus-related visits to urgent care clinics and emergency departments, because of the sheer numbers. omicron cases.

“This highlights the importance of public health preparedness efforts, particularly the ability to strengthen hospitals and ensure adequate systems responsiveness,” the CDC report authors wrote. employee health care”.

The rapid spread of omicrons is unparalleled. The variant, identified for the first time in southern Africa just two months ago, now accounting for 99.9% of all new Covid cases in the United States, according to the CDC’s Live data tracker.

But the meteoric rise of omicrons is showing signs of slowing. Nationwide, cases are decreasing. And in the week ending January 15, the CDC said, emergency room visits appeared to start to drop, as did hospitalizations spike.

The daily death toll from Covid remains high at around 2,000 per day, the CDC reports. CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted recently that many of the deaths were among those previously infected during the delta surge.

An NBC News analysis of data from the Department of Health and Human Services echoes this trend. Although hospitalizations have increased by 13% over the past two weeks, the overall number has begun to decline. Hospitalizations fell in 11 states and Washington, DC

Monitor NBC HEALTH above Twitter & Facebook. Despite the spike in hospitalizations, omicrons cause less severe illness

Jake Nichol

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