Omicron May Be ‘First Ray Of Light’ Against COVID: U.K. Scientist

Omicron may not be so bad after all.

Amid a growing body of evidence that the new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 appears to be milder than the Delta strain, one scientist in the United Kingdom went so far as to call Omicron “a ray of light” in the two-year battle against the pandemic.

“The thing that might happen in the future is you may see the emergence of a new variant that is less severe, and ultimately, in the long term, what happens is Covid becomes endemic and you have a less severe version. It’s very similar to the common cold that we’ve lived with for many years,” Dr. Mike Tildesley told Times Radio on Saturday, according to The Economic Times.

“We’re not quite there yet, but possibly Omicron is the first ray of light there that suggests that may happen in the longer term. It is, of course, much more transmissible than Delta was, which is concerning, but much less severe,” said Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modeling and a University of Warwick professor.

While the doctor cautioned “we’re not quite there yet,” he added: “On the slightly more positive side, so it doesn’t sound all doom and gloom, what we are seeing from hospital admissions is that stays in hospital do appear to be on average shorter, which is good news, symptoms appear to be a little bit milder, so this is what we are seeing consistently with the Omicron variant.”

The risk of winding up in the intensive care unit or dying from the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is 83% less compared to the Delta strain, according to a new study. In addition, the risk of hospitalization or death for an Omicron infection is 65% less than Delta, the Canadian study found.

Despite the seemingly good news, the researchers still had a warning: “While severity is likely to be reduced, the absolute number of hospitalizations and impact on the healthcare system may nevertheless be significant due to the increased transmissibility of Omicron.”

“Nevertheless, Omicron appears to demonstrate lower disease severity for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. While severity is likely to be reduced, the absolute number of hospitalizations and impact on the healthcare system is likely to be significant due to the large number of Omicron infections,” the study says.

The Canadian study mirrors findings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The rate of hospitalizations of Americans with COVID-19 has dropped 50% amid the new Omicron variant compared to record highs seen a year ago, new CDC data shows.

Even though the rate of cases has more than tripled since Omicron emerged around Thanksgiving — earlier this week there were more than 1 million new cases diagnosed on a single day — just 3% of people with the virus are being admitted to hospitals, data from the CDC shows.

That rate is less than half the 6.5% of cases that needed hospitalization exactly a year ago, when the average daily case count was about 250,000, the data shows. Deaths from the virus are less than a third of what was recorded last January at about 1,200 per day, far fewer than the record high of 3,400 a year ago, CDC data shows.

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to josephcurl@dailywire.com.

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