South African study adds more evidence Omicron is less severe, only partly vaccine-resistant

South Africa vaccination site
(Image credit: Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images)

COVID-19's Omicron variant continues to spread around the U.S. and the world, and the World Health Organization on Monday deemed it a "very high" global risk. But a study released Tuesday by Discovery Health, South Africa's largest health insurer, offered more evidence that the new coronavirus strain causes milder illness, even as it evades some of the protections from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The study examined 211,000 positive COVID-19 cases, including 78,000 South Africans who contracted the Omicron variant. It found that hospital admissions are 29 percent lower among adults infected with the Omicron than in the first wave of the pandemic back in mid-2000, and those hospitalized had less serious symptoms. .

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