COVID Cases May Be Peaking in the United States as Omicron Continues to Spread: The United States may soon see the number of COVID-19 cases peak, with regions across the country reporting rapidly dropping case numbers.
While some parts of the country are still experiencing extremely high volumes of COVID-19 cases, owing to the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus, other parts of the country are seeing numbers drop significantly after a surge over the holiday.
The seven-day average of new cases in the United States dropped to 744,000 on January 19, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It fell from 798,000 on January 15 and was the first drop in numbers since the middle of December when the Omicron variant first took hold. As of publication, the seven-day average according to data gathered by the NY Times was down to approximately 555,000.
Fauci “Confident As You Can Be” About Omicron Cases Falling
Over the weekend, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he is as “confident as you can be” that the number of Omicron cases across the country will peak sometime in February, with some regions of the country having already seen numbers peak.
Speaking to ABC on Sunday, he said that “things are looking good.”
“We don’t want to be overconfident, but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now,” he said.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky shared Fauci’s optimism, noting in a press briefing on Friday that case numbers nationally are coming down in what she called an “optimistic trend.”
A New Variant Of Concern
Barbara Ferrer, the County Health Officer for Los Angeles County, also told reporters in a briefing on Thursday that the Omicron variant remains the dominant COVID variant in Los Angeles, accounting for more than 98% of cases as of the beginning of this month. Ferrer also said that the county is witnessing a dramatic drop in case rates and hospitalizations, suggesting that the spread of Omicron has peaked.
However, with the emergence of a new variant of Omicron in the county, known as BA.2, Ferrer warned people not to get their hopes up prematurely.
“While the case and hospitalization declines give us cause for much-welcomed hope, we should not take them as a sign to forgo the common-sense protective measures that help to slow COVID-19 transmission in our county,” she said.
It is currently unclear whether those who have recovered from the Omicron variant are protected against the new variant, or whether any future variants will bypass that immunity.
Reaching the Endemic
Once the United States passes peak COVID cases, a new “endemic” phase of the virus will begin. This means that the COVID virus will continue to exist, but owing to natural immunity and the widespread use of vaccines, it will no longer pose the same threat it used to.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.