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Omicron is ‘not the same disease’ as previous Covid variants, Oxford University scientist says

Horrific scenes seen in previous Covid-19 waves are “now history,” according to John Bell, a regius professor of medicine at the University of Oxford and the U.K. government’s life sciences advisor.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday, Bell analyzed data from the U.K., where cases are breaking records and hospital admissions are at their highest since March. He said that the number of people in ICUs who are vaccinated remains “very, very low.”

“The incidence of severe disease and death from this disease [Covid] has basically not changed since we all got vaccinated and that’s really important to remember,” he told the BBC.

“The horrific scenes that we saw a year ago — intensive care units being full, lots of people dying prematurely — that is now history in my view and I think we should be reassured that that’s likely to continue.”

Discussing the new omicron variant, he added: “The disease does appear to be less severe, and many people spend a relatively short time in hospital. They don’t need high-flow oxygen, average length of stay is apparently three days, this is not the same disease as we were seeing a year ago.”

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