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Risk for Hospitalization, ED Use Up With SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant

Last Updated: August 31, 2021.

TUESDAY, Aug. 31, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The risk for hospital admission and emergency care attendance are increased for patients infected with the delta versus the alpha variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a study published online Aug. 27 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Katherine A. Twohig, M.P.H., from Public Health England in London, and colleagues conducted a cohort study among all patients with COVID-19 in England between March 29 and May 23, 2021, who were identified as infected with the alpha or delta variant of SARS-CoV-2. The risk for hospital admission and emergency care attendance was compared for 43,338 COVID-19-positive patients: 8,682 with the delta variant and 34,656 with the alpha variant.

The researchers found that 2.3 and 2.2 percent of patients with the delta variant and alpha variant, respectively, were admitted to the hospital within 14 days after the specimen was taken (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.26). Overall, 5.7 and 4.2 percent of patients with the delta and alpha variant, respectively, were admitted to the hospital or attended emergency care within 14 days (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.45). Across both groups, most patients were unvaccinated (74.0 percent).

"Our analysis highlights that in the absence of vaccination, any delta outbreaks will impose a greater burden on health care than an alpha epidemic," a coauthor said in a statement. "Getting fully vaccinated is crucial for reducing an individual's risk of symptomatic infection with delta in the first place, and, importantly, of reducing a delta patient's risk of severe illness and hospital admission."

The employer of one author received funding from GlaxoSmithKline for a research project unrelated to COVID-19.

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