The wave of Omicron appears to be milder according to preliminary studies published in the UK and South Africa.
The BBC reports that early evidence suggests fewer people are needing hospital treatment than with other variants – with estimates ranging from a 30% to a 70% reduction.
But the concern remains that even if Omicron is milder, the sheer number of cases could overwhelm hospitals.
More than 100,000 cases have been reported in the UK in a single day for the first time.
A deeper understanding of the severity of Omicron will help countries decide how to respond to the virus.
The study in Scotland has been tracking coronavirus and the number of people ending up in hospital.