Dr Bonnie Henry gave a more thorough explanation of who is getting hospitalized with COVID-19, if they’re coming in for the virus, or for other issues, and what the Omicron variant shows us.
“It does look like we are at our peak of hospitalizations, and this is where we would expect to be given the modelling we’ve been using to help us understand the trajectory,” said Henry.
She added that they’re looking at age groups as well, noting that the number of people being admitted to hospitals with the virus is going down across all age groups.
Henry said that since January, Omicron has become the dominant variant related to hospitalizations, but it’s not always the reason for the hospitalization.
“Hospitalization from Delta was much more common in people who were not vaccinated. Now with Omicron, the unvaccinated are a smaller proportion. And partly that’s because some of the people are people who are admitted for other reasons and have a positive covid test. So it’s not covid that’s driving them into the hospital.”
The median age for Omicron compared to Delta has remained fairly similar, which is around that 63-68 range.
Hospitalizations have gone up statistically for those aged 80 and over though, with 13.8% for the Delta variant, and Omicron sitting at 30.9%.
Henry notes that this could be due to people aged 80 normally having other health issues, being admitted to the hospital, and then testing positive when they’re screened for the virus.
“We can see that about 60% of admissions that were related to Omicron were not because of the infection, but people who were admitted, and tested, and found to have a positive test.”
Henry said the severity of hospitalizations is also down compared between Delta and Omicron as well.
She adds that Omicron seems to be less virulent, noting that the odds of being hospitalized from Omicron than Delta is much less likely, but warns that it’s still a high number.
“Importantly, 1.3% risk of hospitalization is still very high when you have thousands of people a day who are being infected.”