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Omicron variant less severe, even for unvaccinated, study says

The omicron variant of the coronavirus is reportedly less severe for unvaccinated patients, too

An illustration of the omicron variant.
The omicron variant of the coronavirus is reportedly less severe for unvaccinated patients, too.
Illustration by Michelle Budge, Deseret News

The omicron variant of the novel coronavirus creates less severe COVID-19 symptoms among the unvaccinated, according to a new study.

The news: A new study — published on the preprint website MedRxiv ahead of peer review — found that the omicron variant creates fewer severe COVID-19 symptoms among patients, including the unvaccinated, Bloomberg reports.

  • The study was done by the Western Cape and South African National Departments of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa.

What the study said: “The omicron coronavirus variant causes less severe disease than the delta strain even in those who are unvaccinated or who haven’t had a prior COVID-19 infection,” per Bloomberg.

Yes, but: The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the omicron variant can be a “dangerous virus” for the unvaccinated, per Reuters.

  • “Omicron still represents a massive threat to their life and a massive threat to their health,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, per CNBC.
  • President Joe Biden said in December that the omicron variant is dangerous for vaccinated people: “For unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death ... for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm,” Biden added. “But there’s good news. If you’re vaccinated, and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death, period.”