44,927 new corona infections according to the RKI: Milder course at Omikron

Dhe Robert Koch Institute (RKI) registered 44,927 new corona infections within 24 hours. That’s 11,750 fewer cases than Thursday a week ago, when 56,677 positive tests were reported. The nationwide seven-day incidence fell to 280.3 from 289.0 the previous day. The value indicates how many people per 100,000 inhabitants have contracted the corona virus in the past seven days.

425 other people died in connection with the virus. This increases the number of reported deaths to 109,749 within one day. So far, more than 6.92 million corona tests have been positive in Germany.

Omicron is less likely to result in hospitalizations

Two studies from Great Britain show that corona infections with the omicron variant lead to hospitalization less often than with the delta variant. The preliminary study results published on Wednesday thus confirmed earlier findings from South Africa, where the omicron variant was first registered. However, experts warned against exaggerated optimism.

In a study in Scotland, researchers looked at Covid cases recorded in November and December. They compared infections with the omicron variant with those of the delta variant. The study found that Omikron reduced the risk of hospitalization for Covid-19 by two-thirds compared to Delta and that a booster shot provided significant additional protection against symptomatic disease.

However, the sample size of the study was small and no people under the age of 60 were hospitalized. However, the authors stated that they compensated for these limitations using statistical methods. Study author Jim McMenamin told journalists that the study results are conditionally “good news” – conditionally because they were early observations but were “statistically significant”.

“Infection risk is still extremely high”

Another study in England found that Omicron had a 20 to 25 percent reduction in any hospitalizations compared to Delta. The number of hospital stays that lasted one night or longer even fell by 40 to 45 percent. The Scottish study only looked at stays of at least one night, so this may explain part of the difference found.

Azra Ghani of Imperial College London, who co-authored the English study, said: “While the reduced risk of hospitalization with the omicron variant is reassuring, the risk of infection remains extremely high.” infections and hospitalizations.”

None of the studies have been independently reviewed to date. However, the studies contribute to a growing body of scientific evidence that seems to confirm a less severe course of omicron infections. However, it remains unclear whether the observed lower rate of severe cases is due to the properties of the omicron variant or whether the disease is milder because it affects populations that have stronger immunity from previous infections and vaccinations.

Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine at King’s College London, Penny Ward, who was not involved in the studies, said they “changed nothing about the extraordinary spread of this variant in the population”. It is a fact that “even a small proportion of people who need hospital treatment for Covid can become a very large number if the number of infections in the population continues to rise.”