COVID-19 trends indicate that the U.S. micron wave might have reached its maximum in many of the areas where it became evident. This would match what occurred in South Africa, the United Kingdom and other countries, where there were huge spikes of cases that lasted for about one month before dropping off sharply. This cycle is much shorter than those seen in previous waves. Omicron is highly contagious and infects people most at risk.
New York City’s seven-day average daily number of new cases per day shot up during December and January. However, the trend has stalled in the past few days. After a near vertical increase that started in December, the average statewide reached its peak this week. Gov. Kathy Hochul stated Tuesday. It looks as though we are cresting at the top of that trend, if you look at the trend line.”
Recent drops have been seen in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey, as well as the Northeast overall, according to the New York Times database. David Leonhardt, Boston reports from the TimesThe amount of Covid virus in wastewater has dropped by 40 percent from its peak in Jan. 1.” He notes also that Chicago case numbers are starting to level off. The Washington Post Reports indicate that the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s rate of teacher positives during weekly screenings for symptomatic diseases has fallen from 25 percent to 2 percent between Christmas Eve and New Years’s, according to recent reports.
Nationally, there is no indication that the increase in reported cases will slow down. However, these trends show that Anthony Fauci – President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 chief adviser – was correct in predicting that the “this thing” would reach its peak within a matter of weeks.
This expectation is based in large part on South Africa’s experience with omicron, which was identified for the first time in November. From late November through mid-December, new cases were reported daily. However, they have fallen sharply since then. This pattern is similar to Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and other three countries subject to Biden’s Omicron-inspired travel restrictions.
Newly identified cases in the United Kingdom have started to fall since January 5, after increasing dramatically in December. Cases peaked in Greece and Canada around the same time. In Switzerland and Denmark, the numbers are lower than in recent years.
Ali Mokdad (a University of Washington professor in the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation) told the Associated Press that “it’s going down as fast it went up.” IHME predicts that the number of newly reported cases in America will hit 1.2million by Wednesday. However, the IHME estimates that new infections per hour, including those not being tested or who don’t report their results have already reached 6 million.
Even if new infections are less common, hospitalizations continue to increase because of the time lag that occurs between diagnosis and the onset of severe symptoms. According to The American Hospital Association, the average hospitalization in the U.S. is seven days. TimesYesterday, it was around 145,000. This is five percent above the January 2021 record.
Patients admitted to hospital for COVID-19 testing positive have been an important part of these numbers. Their share seems higher this time than during previous waves. The earlier this month, TimesAccording to some reports, incidental infections accounted for roughly 50-65% of all admissions at New York’s hospitals.
COVID-positive people without any serious symptoms can increase the strain on healthcare systems. The hospital surge could cause severe problems in the coming weeks and potentially undermine COVID-19 care. Prabhat Jha from the University of Toronto said, “The next few days are going to be brutal” due to “so many people getting infected that it’ll spill over into ICUs.”
Another indicator that is lagging behind the case number declines, daily deaths are also likely to continue rising. However, people who have been infected via omicron as this was the case for 95 percent or more of all COVID-19 cases, as of January 1, were less likely than those infected through the delta variant. This is especially true if these people are either vaccinated, or have received some immunity as a result from prior infections. Due to omicron’s mild immunity, the number of deaths has declined significantly compared with cases in the United States or other countries. This makes the current outbreak far less deadly than the one last year.
“The beginning of the end of the Omicron wave—if it turns out to be real—would be very good news,” Leonhardt writes. “It would mean that a milder variant had become the dominant form of Covid but was no longer causing a surge in cases and overwhelming hospitals. This would indicate that millions of Americans have developed additional immunity as a result Omicron infections. This would be a significant step towards a country where Covid becomes an endemic, like flu, and not a major pandemic.