D.According to a study, the risk of being admitted to hospital is about twice as high as with the alpha variant in the case of an infection with the delta variant of the coronavirus. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Public Health England authority evaluated more than 40,000 corona cases in England between the end of March and the end of May 2021. The results published in the journal “Lancet Infectious Diseases” relate primarily to the risk for unvaccinated people. The data do not allow any conclusions to be drawn for fully vaccinated persons.
So far, studies have mainly shown the higher transferability of the delta variant; there were hardly any reliable statements about the risk of severe courses. The scientists now used the results of tens of thousands of positive tests that had been assigned to delta or alpha via genetic analysis. Almost 9,000 went back to Delta, around 35,000 to Alpha. In relation to this, the researchers looked at the number of hospital admissions.
After adjusting the data for factors such as age and demographics, which usually increase the risk of developing serious illness, they found that infected with Delta had a mean 2.26-fold higher risk of hospitalization within two weeks of the test fixed. The risk of having to go to an emergency room or be hospitalized within 14 days was therefore 1.45 times higher with Delta than with Alpha.
High risk for non-vaccinated people
Of the more than 40,000 cases examined in the study, only 1.8 percent were fully vaccinated, which the researchers interpret as further confirmation that the vaccines are very effective. 74 percent of the infected people considered were unvaccinated, 24 percent only partially vaccinated, i.e. with only one vaccination dose. Because of the limited amount of data available for this, the researchers are unable to make any statements as to whether there is a higher risk of serious illness in vaccinated persons.
“Our analysis shows that delta outbreaks without vaccination represent a significantly greater burden on the health system than an alpha epidemic,” said one of the study authors, Anne Presanis of Cambridge University. “Getting fully vaccinated is critical to reducing your risk of symptomatic infection and lowering your risk of developing severe delta infection and admission to hospital.”
No data on previous illnesses
The authors cite the weaknesses of their study as the fact that they did not have any data on their patients’ previous illnesses. It is also possible that the rules for hospital admissions have changed during the trial period. The researchers at least tried to minimize these factors in their calculations as much as possible.