Omicron data: ‘Glimmer of Christmas hope or an illusion

World Health Organization (WHO) presented a technical document (December 23 2021) on the Omicron variant of Covid-19. According to this document, data on the clinical severity of patients infected with Omicron is growing but is still limited. Early data from South Africa, the United Kingdom (UK) and Denmark suggest a reduced risk of hospitalization for Omicron. However, the risk of hospitalization is only one aspect of severity. More data across different countries are needed to understand how clinical markers of severity are associated with Omicron. Clinical markers include factors such as the use of oxygen, mechanical ventilation and deaths. 


Omicron variant Versus Delta


The reduction in the risk of hospitalization may be due to different factors. The reduction may be due to immunity from previous infections or vaccination. Maybe Omicron is less infectious than other variants. Despite the above information from WHO, the British health officials are underestimating the threat of the Omicron variant. They are not taking the danger seriously and are speaking of Glimmer of Christmas hope.  


According to the I News, a government study has found people who catch Omicron have a 50-70% likelihood of hospitalization. The findings from the UK Health Security Agency are the latest findings. The findings suggest that the new variant is milder than Delta. However, we should consider the effect of transmission rates on hospitalizations. The research shows a reduction in those needing to attend an A&E department. The reduction is between 31 and 45 per cent compared to Delta. 

As stated in the PoliticsHome, Harries said there were some reasons why scientists need to continue studying Omicron data. Dr Jenny Harries is a famous scientist and the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). One reason for studying Omicron data is that its impact on the elderly is less clear than on younger people. 

According to the UN New, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters that the variant was now present in 77 countries. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant. 

Omicron variant in Britain

According to sky news, Christmas Day saw the highest number of cases reported so far in England. Scotland also recorded “highest ever” daily cases. England saw big a jump in hospital numbers. As The Print says, the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released additional data. A total of 1.74 million people in the UK had coronavirus on December 19. This figure is up by more than 368,000 on the figure three days earlier. This equates to 2.7 per cent of the population or one in 35 people. In London, that figure is even higher at one in 20, driven by the rapidly transmissible Omicron variant.

Christmas and Omicron

According to the PoliticsHome, new Omicron Data Has “Glimmer Of Christmas Hope”, But More Research Needed, Says Jenny Harries. She is the chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). She added that it would be premature to draw firm conclusions about the risk it poses to public health. 

According to The Print, the UK recorded 122,186 COVID cases amid a ‘glimmer of Christmas hope’. The UK on December 24 recorded another daily COVID-19 infection high at 122,186, up from 119,789 cases the previous day. Studies showed that the Omicron variant is less severe than the Delta variant. Based on this finding, experts pointed to a “glimmer of Christmas hope”. Dr Jenny Harries said, ‘There is a glimmer of Christmas hope’. She added, ‘but it definitely isn’t yet at the point where we could downgrade that serious threat.’  

‘Glimmer of Christmas hope’: A big mistake 

According to the Manchester Evening News, Dr Jenny Harries warned that the impact of Omicron on the elderly and vulnerable remains unknown. She said, ‘There’s a “glimmer of Christmas hope”. Research suggests the Omicron variant causes a milder illness than Delta. However, a senior health official warns that it still poses a threat. 

As stated in the UN News, vaccines alone will not get any country out of the crisis. Countries can – and must – prevent the spread of Omicron with actions that work today. Despite such warnings, British officials spoke of a ‘glimmer of Christmas hope’. As the Guardian says, Covid cases in England reached a new high of 113,628 on Christmas Day. It says that 1,281 people were admitted to the hospital – the highest daily figure since mid-February. 

Considering the rise announced in the Guardian, we may conclude that British officials are not taking the threat seriously. They spoke of a ‘glimmer of Christmas hope’. It seems that the officials were cautious enough. They did not place enough restrictions for the Christmas holidays. The ‘glimmer of Christmas hope’ may result in severe consequences after the holiday. The health officials and government should be more cautious about peoples’ health and the spread of the Omicron variant. 

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