Omicron is up to 45% less likely to cause hospitalisation than Delta, according to the first major real-world study by ‘Professor Lockdown’ Neil Ferguson.
The senior SAGE scientist – who just last week warned there could be up to 5,000 daily Omicron deaths in the UK – said the country’s fourth wave will be “nothing like what we saw last year, with ICUs overflowing with patients”.
His team at Imperial College London found that overall, people who catch Omicron are less likely to be admitted than those who get Delta.
The findings are believed to be the reason why Boris Johnson resisted tougher Christmas restrictions despite cases hitting a record 106,122.
Professor Ferguson said: ‘You can see in London, we are getting a lot more people hospitalised. Not for very long, probably not with very severe illness.”
The typically gloomy expert confirmed he expected the Omicron wave to be milder, with patients discharged from hospitals quicker and fewer COVID deaths.
SAGE experts have suggested it isn’t good news – as Omicron might need to be 90% milder than Delta to avoid the NHS coming under unsustainable pressure. This can only be avoided, they said, with more restrictions.
Gloomy SAGE experts have come under fire in recent days after the committee suggested deaths could peak at 6,000 this winter. Last year they reached 1,300 at the peak.
Their warnings come despite three major studies confirmed is milder than Delta and far less likely to put someone in the hospital.