Omicron is roughly one tenth as harmful as delta, and one fifth as harmful as original covid. Based on information in an article by Shaun Wooller.
At last, some actual data on how harmful omicron is. Check out this review of UK modeling, comparing predictions made a few weeks ago to what actually happened:
The actual data best fits the predictions that assumed omicron was about 10% as severe as delta.
Delta was about 2 to 3 times as severe as original covid, so covid is about 0.25 times as severe as the original.
These rough conclusions are backed up by the UK case fatality rates, which now stands at about 0.15% — from mainly omicron, some delta, some boosted, some with waned vaccine protection to original. Compare this to around 1% for delta, and around 0.5% (after the clueless initial panic) for original.
The fatality rate for flu/pneumonia is about 0.10%, only slightly less than the 0.10 – 0.20% or so we might be seeing for omicron.
Therefore omicron might be regarded as more like a brutal flu, rather than a mild killer like original covid and delta.
Let’s pray that the next dominant variant is even milder than omicron. This is how pandemics usually fade away.
UPDATE: There is another way of looking at this. If omicron is a tenth as harmful as delta, you’d expect its case fatality rate to be around 0.1%. In practice, in the UK, with a high vaccination rate (many boosted) and some delta still, the actual case fatality rate is about 0.15. Roughly the same. Which suggests that the vaccines, even boosted, are doing very little to lower death rates.
Is this an unreasonable suggestion? Well, the first generation vaccines are all aimed at original covid, but omicron is significantly different.
Maybe the last excuse for these vaccines, that they reduce the risk of hospitalization and death, is evaporating as omicron displaces previous strains.