Early reports from hospitals where patients infected with the Omicron coronavirus variant are being treated indicate that the illness is not as severe as other strains of Covid-19.
The reports come mainly from South Africa, where the variant is spreading quickly, according to the New York Times.
‘Researchers at a major hospital complex in Pretoria reported that their patients with the coronavirus are much less sick than those they have treated before and that other hospitals are seeing the same trends,’ wrote the American newspaper.
‘In fact, they said, most of their infected patients were admitted for other reasons and have no Covid symptoms.’
An Omicron Variant Patient Profile Early Features report from a hospital in the Gauteng Province in South Africa notes that the majority of patients have not been oxygen dependent but cautions against being too optimistic.
‘It is essential to recognize that the patient information presented here only represents the first two weeks of the Omicron wave in Tshwane. The clinical profile of admitted patients could change significantly over the next two weeks, by which time we can draw conclusions about the severity of disease with greater precision,’ the report reads.
In Belgium, some 30 cases have been linked to the new Omicron variant, which has so far been detected in 38 countries and led to tougher travel restrictions from a number of governments.
There are at least 182 confirmed cases of the new variant in 17 EU countries, with most cases linked to travel to countries in Africa, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).