Estimation of disease burden and clinical severity of COVID-19 caused by Omicron BA.2 in Shanghai, February-June 2022

Emerg Microbes Infect. 2022 Dec;11(1):2800-2807. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2022.2128435.


An outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2 sublineage occurred in Shanghai, China from February 26 to June 30, 2022. We use official reported data retrieved from Shanghai municipal Health Commissions to estimate the incidence of infections, severe/critical infections, and deaths to assess the disease burden. By adjusting for right censoring and RT-PCR sensitivity, we provide estimates of clinical severity, including the infection fatality ratio, symptomatic case fatality ratio, and risk of developing severe/critical disease upon infection. The overall infection rate, severe/critical infection rate, and mortality rate were 2.74 (95% CI: 2.73-2.74) per 100 individuals, 6.34 (95% CI: 6.02-6.66) per 100,000 individuals and 2.42 (95% CI: 2.23-2.62) per 100,000 individuals, respectively. The severe/critical infection rate and mortality rate increased with age, noted in individuals aged 80 years or older. The overall fatality ratio and risk of developing severe/critical disease upon infection were 0.09% (95% CI: 0.09-0.10%) and 0.27% (95% CI: 0.24-0.29%), respectively. Having received at least one vaccine dose led to a 10-fold reduction in the risk of death for infected individuals aged 80 years or older. Under the repeated population-based screenings and strict intervention policies implemented in Shanghai, our results found a lower disease burden and mortality of the outbreak compared to other settings and countries, showing the impact of the successful outbreak containment in Shanghai. The estimated low clinical severity of this Omicron BA.2 epidemic in Shanghai highlight the key contribution of vaccination and availability of hospital beds to reduce the risk of death.

Keywords: COVID-19; Omicron BA.2; Shanghai; clinical severity; disease burden.

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2

Grant support

This work was supported by Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China: [Grant Number 82130093].