We’re covering new data from Britain about the severity of Omicron and an easing of sanctions on Afghanistan.

Omicron infections more often result in mild illness compared with previous variants of the coronavirus, offering hope that the current surge may be less catastrophic than feared.

The research, conducted in Britain and released on Wednesday, indicated that Omicron was less likely to put people in hospitals. One study looked at hospital admissions for the Delta and Omicron variants in November and December and found a two-thirds reduction in the risk of hospitalization. A separate analysis looked at Omicron and Delta cases in the first two weeks of December and saw a smaller reduction in hospital visits.

The analysis of infections in early December examined 56,000 cases of Omicron and 269,000 cases of Delta, according to The Guardian.

“What you’ve heard is a qualified good-news story,” said Dr. Jim McMenamin, incident director for Covid-19 at Public Health Scotland. But he warned that hospitals could still be filled because of the rate of transmission.

ease the pressure of sanctions as the combination of the pandemic, a drought, the loss of foreign aid and frozen currency reserves have Afghanistan’s economy on the brink of collapse.