According to a recent study, those infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus are twice as likely to be hospitalized than the alpha variant.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Public Health England evaluated more than 40,000 coronavirus cases in England between the end of March and the end of May 2021 for their study.
The results, published in the scientific journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, mainly apply to unvaccinated people. The data do not allow any conclusions to be drawn for the fully vaccinated.
Until now, studies had mainly shown the higher transmissibility of the delta variant, but there was hardly any reliable evidence about the risk of a severe course of COVID-19.
Researchers found a 2.26-time higher average risk of hospitalization within two weeks following an infection with the delta variant. The risk of hospitalization was therefore 1.45 times higher than due to an infection with the alpha variant.
Of the more than 40,000 cases evaluated in the study, only 1.8% were fully vaccinated, which the researchers interpret as renewed confirmation of the very effective protection given by the vaccines.
Of the infected people considered in the study, 74% were unvaccinated and 24% only partially vaccinated.
"Our analysis highlights that in the absence of vaccination, any delta outbreaks will impose a greater burden on healthcare than an Alpha epidemic," said one of the study authors, Anne Presanis from the University of Cambridge.
"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."