Preliminary data from the United Kingdom shows that the Omicron-infected patients are 50-70% less likely to need hospital care, in comparison with Delta or other previous variants of COVID-19.

The data comes from an analysis conducted by the UK Health Security Agency, which was based on all COVID-19 cases of Omicron and Delta in the country since the beginning of November, BBC reported.

The early findings also show that, among 132 people admitted to hospital with Omicron, there were 14 deaths within 28 days of catching the variant.

The health agency said though the findings are “encouraging,” but the variant milder virus could still put pressure on hospitals because it spreads so fast.

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it was “too early” to determine “next steps.”

The analysis also shows that COVID-19 vaccine’s ability to prevent people from catching Omicron starts to wane 10 weeks after a booster dose.

The UK released the report after data from some other countries all pointed to reduced severity.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Monday, Dec. 20, that Omicron has now become the dominant coronavirus variant, making up 73.2% of new infections in the week ending Dec.18, the Associated Press reported.

However, the CDC officials said they did not yet have estimates of how many hospitalizations or deaths are due to Omicron in the U.S.

Amid a surge of Omicron variant infections, President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, saying his administration would boost testing capacity and expand access to vaccines and support for hospitals across the country.

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