As COVID Cases Rise, Studies Suggest Omicron Is More Deadly Than Originally Though – COVID-19 cases in the United States steadily increased in April, reaching a daily average of 67,263 and bringing the total number of cases to 81,574,159. Today, roughly 94,000 new cases were reported, up from a recent bottom of nearly 8,000 on March 20.
Cases are rising in all but six states in the country, with the Omicron subvariant believed to be responsible for the vast majority of new cases. The Omicron variant, which emerged in Botswana in early November and quickly spread to Europe and the United States, was several times more infectious than both the Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants.
Rising cases, however, don’t necessarily mean a return to the lockdowns of the early pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief COVID advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, already said in mid-April that the United States has now left the “full-blown explosive pandemic” phase – and the latest figures are less than 10% of the daily case peak from the original Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Study Suggests Omicron May Be Just As Severe As Earlier Variants
When the Omicron variant disrupted the nation’s holiday festivities last year, it was understood to be less deadly and severe than both the Alpha and Delta variants. However, according to a new study, the new variant actually causes the same level of illness in patients.
The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, was shared by Research Square on May 2 and was authored by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Minerva University, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Researchers claim that they found that the risks of both hospitalization and mortality were “nearly identical” between Omicron and earlier variants. The data was taken from the records of 130,000 COVID patients from Massachusetts.
If the study is right, then declining COVID-19 deaths may be explained by increased immunity among the population rather than the characteristics of individual variants.
Most Americans Have Already Had COVID
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than half of all Americans, and as many as three in four children, have already suffered at least one COVID-19 infection.
Data analysts from the government agency also estimated that the “seroprevalence,” which refers to the presence of antibodies in a person’s body, has reached 95%. The seroprevalence figure takes into account those who have survived a COVID-19 infection and developed antibodies naturally, as well as those who have taken a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We all know that there are some infections that go unreported, either because they’re asymptomatic or mild, the person didn’t get tested, or it didn’t get reported. So seroprevalence was an important piece of the puzzle, and it helps us to really understand more kind of the public health picture,” Dr. Kristie Clarke of the CDC said on Tuesday.
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 reports 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.