3 new studies, with caveats, add to evidence Omicron is less severe than other COVID-19 variants

London amid Omicron
(Image credit: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images)

Thee separate studies out of England, Scotland, and South Africa on Wednesday suggested the new Omicron coronavirus is less likely to send people to the hospital and usually produces milder symptoms. The Omicron variant is also infecting more people at a much faster rate, among other caveats, so "this is a qualified good-news story," said Jim McMenamin, national COVID-19 incident director at Public Health Scotland and a co-author of the Scottish study.

"Cautious optimism is perhaps the best way to look at" these new studies, Manuel Ascano Jr., a virus researcher at Vanderbilt University, tells The Associated Press. "It is clearly good news, to a degree," said Neil Ferguson, who led the English research team at Imperial College London.

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