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Omicron wave has declined: What experts say could happen next

Virus Outbreak California
Posted at 3:58 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 17:27:13-05

(WXYZ) — National COVID-19 case numbers are falling and infectious disease experts say this could be a sign that an end is in sight.

It’s great to see that omicron’s surge has plateaued nationally. And some states have even seen a decline in numbers. Last week, 14 states had a 10% drop in numbers. But omicron is still raging in many parts of the U.S., 26 states had case numbers rise by 10%.

And when you look at our national numbers overall, our caseload is still quite high — our daily average is over 690,000. It’s unfortunate, but thousands will still get infected and people will die as omicron’s surge slows down.

Now as for what’s coming our way in 2022, many health experts including myself are hopeful that our case numbers will follow what happened in South Africa and the UK. Numbers in those two countries skyrocketed and then plummeted.

Experts here are predicting that we’ll see much better numbers in the U.S. by mid-February. And we could end up with a nice quiet period like we had last year. It’s quite possible we’ll have a more relaxed spring and summer if national case numbers continue to drop.

Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball that gives us all the answers. We just don’t know with 100% certainty if we’ll get another variant and if it would be milder or more dangerous than the variants we’ve already dealt with.

In my opinion, it’s very likely we’ll see another variant because viruses want to stay alive, so they mutate. I’ll use the flu virus as an example. Back in 1918, the H1N1 flu virus caused one of the worst pandemics ever, killing over 50 million people. That pandemic eventually ended, but we still have the flu virus with us today because that particular flu strain continued to mutate. It just doesn’t kill as it did back in 1918.

And that’s what scientists are hoping will happen with the coronavirus — that’ll it’ll mutate into something less severe. But we have to recognize that the virus could also do the opposite and mutate into something more severe.

Right now, it’s most important that we do not underestimate omicron, especially those who are not vaccinated. Our hospitalization numbers are high, and the unvaccinated are most likely to end up in the hospital. Plus, the U.S. is seeing more than 2,100 deaths a day — that’s a 39% increase over the last 14 days. So, let’s continue being cautious, wearing masks — preferably N95s — and get vaccinated and boosted.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.