Today, an official from the World Health Organization praised the growing evidence that Omicron has milder strains than previous ones and called it ‘good news. 

WHO Covid incident manager Dr Abdi Mahamud stated that there were’more studies’ suggesting the existence of new strains of pneumonia.

Omicron is a highly infectious virus that has caused fewer deaths and hospitalisations than other new strains.

Although doctors believe that natural immunity and vaccines have played a major role in the rise of vaccinations, increasing numbers of research suggest that it is also intrinsically less effective. 

Dr Mahamud told reporters in Geneva: ‘We are seeing more and more studies pointing out that Omicron is infecting the upper part of the body. That could result in severe pneumonia and not like the other Omicrons.

Studies are indicating that Omicron may also cause milder illnesses due to its rapid spread.

Researchers in Hong Kong have found that the virus multiplies 70% faster in airways than Delta. This could lead to people becoming more contagious.

It is 10x slower at replication in the lungs than Delta, which can result in pneumonia. Patients who are exposed to the virus may need ventilators. 

The number of daily positive Covid tests recorded in England has exceeded 100,000 for nearly two weeks. However, the number of patients in hospital with the virus is a fraction of the level seen last winter, while deaths remain flat

In England, there have been nearly 100,000 positive Covid tests per day for the past two weeks. However, this year’s number of positive Covid tests in England has exceeded 100,000 for almost two weeks. Deaths remain constant. 

The graphs show the amount of the coronavirus detected in human bronchial cells (left) and lung cells (right) 24 and 48 hours after coming into contact with the original strain of the virus (pink), Delta (orange) and Omicron (red). There was 70 times more Omicron recorded in the bronchus — the main pipe connecting the airways and lungs — compared to previous strains, but 10 times less virus in the lungs when compared to the original version and Delta. Experts from the University of Hong Kong said this suggests the virus is more transmissible but may cause less severe illness

Below are graphs showing the amounts of coronavirus found in human lung cells (left), and in bronchial cell (right), 24 and 48 hours after being exposed to the original, Delta, and Omicron strains. There was 70 times more Omicron recorded in the bronchus — the main pipe connecting the airways and lungs — compared to previous strains, but 10 times less virus in the lungs when compared to the original version and Delta. The University of Hong Kong experts said that this indicates the virus could be transmissible, although it may not cause severe illness.


Researchers: Hong Kong University 

They did it!The researchers exposed lung tissue in a laboratory to the original Covid strain that was identified in Wuhan last year, along with the two variants, to compare how the viruses behave after infection.

They found: Omicron multiplies 70 times faster than Delta in the bronchus — tubes connecting the windpipe and lungs — but 10 times slower in the lungs than predecessors. It is a remarkable finding This may be why the virus spreads at such a rapid pace. It also supports the hypothesis that it is less severe than previous variants. 

This is what it meansA higher level of viral loads in the throat can mean that people are more likely than others to exhale viral particles. Delta replication was much more rapid in the lungs. More of the virus could cause the worst illness. This finding could be the reason doctors believe that the virus causes only cold-like symptoms in people who are infected.

Researchers: Washington University

They did it!:  Researchers assessed different parts of the lungs for mice infected with the Omicron variant as well as other strains of the virus including Delta.

They foundOmicron infected mice had lower lung damage and were more likely to live longer than people with other viruses. Omicron-infected mice had 10 times less virus in their lungs than those infected by other varieties. 

This is what it meansScientists claim it is evidence Omicron can manifest itself in the upper pulmonary system.

Researchers: South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases

They did it!Research: Researchers examined 10,547 Omicron infected individuals and 948 non Omicron.

They found2.5% of Omicron-infected people were admitted to hospital, as compared with 12.8% for those with other strains. This meant that Omicron was 80 percent more likely to result in hospitalization than Delta.

This is what it meansResearcher: It is not yet clear if Omicron is more susceptible to the virus than Delta. The vaccines and built-up immunity to the previous three waves of the virus are thought to have done most of this effort in keeping the patients out of hospitals.  

ResearchersImperial College London

They did it!In the first week of December, researchers analysed data from 56,000 Omicron case and 269,000 Delta cases. 

They foundOmicron is 15-20% less likely to be admitted and 40%-45% less likely that they will spend more than a single night in hospital. 

This is what it means: The team said the findings can help other countries plan for Omicron waves.

ResearchersUniversity of Edinburgh

They did it!More than 150,000 people were diagnosed with Covid by the team, which included 22,000 Omicron patients. The majority of these cases were younger than 65.

They foundOmicron cases that required hospitalization were 68% lower than those expected for Delta patients. Omicron could have received 47 admissions, but Delta only had 15.

This is what it meansResearchers have confirmed that the Omicron variant is not as severe. However, they cautioned that the NHS could be overwhelmed by Omicron patients this winter. 

Patients with severe Covid may develop pneumonia, which is a swelling and inflammation of the lungs. This can lead to shortness or even death. 

Although UK hospitalisations are on the rise, the number in mechanical ventilation beds remains static. However, doctors reporting to the ground that Omicron infections are less common are a sign of an improving UK.

MailOnline Monday’s analysis revealed that half of the Covid patients in London needing to connect to ventilators has dropped since Omicron launched.

NHS England statistics reveal that 16% of all hospitalized patients needed mechanical ventilation late November while the Delta version was still dominant. 

However, it dropped to six percent a month later after Omicron replaced it. 

Omicron data may be good news, Dr Mahamud stated, however, that it can cause havoc in the next few weeks for countries with low vaccine rates.

He said that South Africa is a promising country because of its youthful population.   

Speaking to journalists in Geneva today, Dr Mahamud said Omicron’s high transmissibility means it will become dominant within weeks in many places, posing a threat in countries where a high portion of the population remains unvaccinated.

These remarks, which are based on decreased risks for severe diseases, mirror other data such as a South African study that showed Omicron in South Africa.

A study done by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable diseases found that people are 80% less likely than others to need to be hospitalized and 70% less likely to receive ICU treatment or to go on a ventilator. 

Researchers found that Omicron was spread to 2.5 percent of Omicron-infected people. This compares to Delta’s 12.8 percentage, which corresponds to an 80 percent drop.

The UK Health Security Agency did a similar analysis on the 132 patients who were hospitalized with Omicron and Delta. It found that those who contracted the latest strain of Omicron/Delta were 50% to 70% less likely to end up in hospital. 

Researchers in Hong Kong discovered that Omicron multiplyes 70% faster than Delta in the respiratory tract and 10% slower in the lungs. This could help explain Omicron’s mild symptoms but faster spread. 

Persons who have higher viral loads in the throat are more likely than others to exhale viral particles. 

Delta replicated much faster in the lungs than it did elsewhere, which is where the virus could cause the most serious illness. 

This finding could be the reason doctors say that people with this strain do not experience cold-like symptoms.

Mahamud did sound a warning note, however, and called South Africa an “outlier” due to its young population.

South Africans may have received Covid once before, and around 25% of them are double vaccinated. Boosters are still not available in South Africa.

In the UK, 82.5 Percent of 12-year-olds are double-jabbed, while 60% of those over-12s get boosted. Studies have shown that this provides an additional layer of defense against Omicron.

Mahamud was asked if an Omicron-specific vaccination was necessary, but he said that it was premature to answer. He also stressed the need for global coordination of the decisions and not allowing the market to make them.

In case Omicron is needed, vaccine makers have already begun to tweak the existing jabs.

These vaccines won’t arrive for several months, and the existing ones are still resistant to severe Covid consequences.