The Omicron version started showing signs of slowing in the US and UK, with the case curve declining sharply. This phenomenon is similar to the one in South Africa at the end of the year, where the new strain was recorded for the first time, and indicates that the infection curve of Micron is shorter than that of other types.
In the US, the decline in case volumes is sharpest on the East Coast, particularly in New York and New Jersey, where the virus strain first emerged. According to a New York Times survey, the moving average of cases in New York state reached 74,000 on January 9. Eight days later, the number stands at 48,000 cases – a drop of 35%.
However, with its continental dimensions, the US records omicron outbreaks at different stages in several states at the same time, which prevents national numbers from falling more rapidly. The places where the versions came later would still suffer from the new strain for a long time.
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In the United Kingdom, which has about a fifth of the US population, the decline in infections is more consistent across the country. From 182,000 cases on the moving average on 5 January, Britons registered 98,000 cases on the 17th – a 46% drop.
Other European countries where the new version of the virus arrived in mid-December, such as Spain, France and Italy, are already reaching the peak of contagion, according to mathematical models, although the French are still reporting records of new infections. – 465 thousand exactly yesterday.
Despite the decline in the UK and the US, health officials in both countries say the number of infected remains alarmingly high and the number of hospitalizations has not followed a decline, which took another two weeks. may take. Another caveat is that herd immunity against the microbe is still far from being achieved through vaccination or natural infection.
The average number of Americans hospitalized with the coronavirus is 157,000, a 54% increase in two weeks. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the president’s administration, was asked at the World Economic Forum on Monday whether the pandemic could still be under control in 2022.
“I hope this is the case,” he said. “But that will only happen if we don’t find another type that kicks off an immune response.” According to Fauci, it is still impossible to trace the evolution of the pandemic. “The answer is: we don’t know,” he said.
“While it is too early to know how this record wave will shape the pandemic, it will have some impact,” said William Hannez, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We expect the new waves to be mild. It is not herd immunity, as an outbreak would still be possible. However, their consequences would be much less severe.”
One difference from what happened in South Africa in December in the US and the UK is that hospitalizations have declined sharply in the case of South Africa. A similar scenario has been recorded in other parts of the world, such as Mumbai, India.
Shashank Joshi, a member of the government task force, said: “South Africa has seen a sharp increase in the number of cases of the outbreak, but some require hospitalization or oxygen support. In addition, the decline in cases has been sharp. Is.” Indian. “This wave has behaved like this in Mumbai so far.”
In the US case, again, vaccination may explain the higher number of hospitalizations. “Mumbai has a high vaccination rate. There is a strong lobby against the vaccine in the US and data analysis shows that the majority of hospitalizations and deaths are people who haven’t been vaccinated,” Joshi said.