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The World Health Organization designated Omicron as a variant of concern on November 26, 2021. Omicron has 37 mutations in the spike protein and has rapidly replaced Delta as the dominant variant globally, due to increased immune evasion.1 It is less clear how the severity of Omicron compares with that of Delta. Early data from South Africa suggest that Omicron may be less severe than prior lineages2; however, the low average age of infected individuals, extent of previous infection, and low vaccination rates affect generalizability to certain other countries. In Ontario, Canada, we examined hospitalizations and deaths associated with Omicron compared with matched patients infected with Delta.
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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.
Accepted for Publication: February 4, 2022.
Published Online: February 17, 2022. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.2274
Corresponding Author: Kevin A. Brown, PhD, Public Health Ontario, 480 University Ave, Suite 300, Toronto, ON M5G1V2, Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Author Contributions: Ms Ulloa and Dr Brown had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: All authors.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Ulloa, Brown.
Drafting of the manuscript: All authors.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.
Statistical analysis: Ulloa, Brown.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Brown.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Funding/Support: This study was supported by Public Health Ontario; the authors received no external funding for the conduct of this study.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
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