According to analysis of data from South Africa, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is more mild and less likely to lead to hospitalization, but is also more resistant to vaccines.
The analysis showed that individuals who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were roughly 70% protected against hospitalization if infected with the Omicron variant. For the Delta variant, individuals with the same vaccine were 90% protected against hospitalization. The analysis also found a drop in the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing infection against Omicron, from 80% during the Delta variant wave to roughly 33% during Omicron’s rise. While the findings are preliminary and not yet peer-reviewed, they seem to suggest that the Omicron variant is more easily transmitted. The rate of new COVID-19 cases in South Africa has risen four-fold in the past two weeks, but the death rate has remained roughly the same. As of Tuesday, only one death has been attributed to Omicron worldwide.
Outlets across the spectrum covered the analysis prominently.