Covid-19: hospital stays are shorter with the Omicron variant, according to Olivier Véran

Patients with Covid-19 stay in hospital for less time and are sent to intensive care less when they are infected with the Omicron variant, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, reported Monday, January 10. Compared to its predecessors, the Omicron variant, which became the majority in a few weeks, “gives less respiratory distress, so it sends patients to intensive care less”, clarified Olivier Véran during a hearing before the senators.

Even if it is less dangerous, it is still difficult to determine to what extent this lower severity will offset the explosion of cases. This variant still causes “fairly strong flu-like symptoms” and leads, like previous versions of the virus, “a significant increase in hospitalizations”, warned the Minister of Health.

Corn “we know with sufficient hindsight now (that the stays are) shorter than with the previous variants”, he noted, noting that Omicron appears to affect the upper parts of the airways instead (and therefore affects the lungs less than other variants). Hospitalized patients “will have oxygen needs for three or four days and (…) then will be able to go out”, detailed the minister.

The Assistance Publique-Hôpital de Paris (AP-HP) studied the share of the Delta variant and the Omicron variant in new patients hospitalized in its departments for Covid-19 between December 1 and January 4, in critical care and in conventional hospitalization. These data relate to 3,112 patients: 491 patients hospitalized in critical care and 2,621 patients treated in conventional hospitalization.

“They show a clear increase in the proportion of patients infected with the Omicron variant in conventional hospitalization and, until the beginning of January, a stability in the proportion of patients infected with Omicron, who remain a very small minority in critical care”, notes the AP-HP in a press release. So she noted “on average over the last week of 2021, around 19% of daily admissions with Omicron in critical care and 54% in conventional hospitalization”.

And for patients in conventional hospitalization, short stays, less than one day, represent “19% of stays for incoming patients infected with Delta and 43% for incoming patients infected with Omicron”.

Thus, the probability of having recourse to critical care is “three times higher in patients infected with the Delta variant than with the Omicron variant”, concludes the AP-HP.

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