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Omicron is ‘not the same disease’ as earlier Covid waves, says UK scientist

Sir John Bell says disease ‘appears less severe’ as other scientists criticise lack of new restrictions in England

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Omicron is “not the same disease we were seeing a year ago” and high Covid death rates in the UK are “now history”, a leading immunologist has said.

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and the government’s life sciences adviser, said that although hospitalisations had increased in recent weeks as Omicron spreads through the population, the disease “appears to be less severe and many people spend a relatively short time in hospital”. Fewer patients were needing high-flow oxygen and the average length of stay was down to three days, he said.

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