The nation’s top infectious disease specialist says Omicron cases will likely start dropping throughout the nation by mid-February as the hardest-hit cities experience infection rate dips of up to 64 percent.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the US will likely start to ‘see a turnaround’ in cases and hospitalizations as the highly-contagious variant begins to slow – and that it could signal a gradual return to normal.
‘We would hope that as we get into the next weeks or month, we will see throughout the entire country, the level of infection get to below what I call the ‘area of control,’ he told ABC’s This Week.
‘Control means you’re not eliminating it, you’re not eradicating it, but it gets down into such a low level that it’s essentially integrated into the general respiratory infections that we have learned to live with.’
His shared an outlook of cautious optimism as infections plunge in the country’s early epicenters on the east.
Infection rates are dropping in states considered the early epicenters of the Omicron variant, including in New York, where the infection rate has dipped 82 percent week-over-week
New Jersey has gone from 28,514 cases January 9 to 8,924 confirmed infections January 23, representing a 68 percent decrease
The situation also appears promising in Connecticut, where cases dropped from a January 10 high of 10,179 cases to 4,872 cases January 22
In New York – where parts of the state were paralyzed by Omicron last month – cases have dropped 58 per cent in a fortnight, and 82 per cent week-over-week. New Jersey’s infection rates dropped 64 per cent in a fortnight, and 89 per cent during the same last seven days, Johns Hopkins University data indicates.
The Empire State went from having 79,777 cases January 9 to recording 27,643 cases Saturday, representing a 54 percent drop during the past two weeks, according to New York Times data.
Deaths related to the virus spiked 71 percent in the past two weeks; more than 62,600 New Yorkers have died from Covid since the pandemic began.
New Jersey has gone from 28,514 cases January 9 to 8,924 confirmed infections January 23, representing a 64 percent decrease.
However, the death rate jumped 71 percent in the Garden State, where 30,746 people have died since the virus took hold in early 2020.
Deaths traditionally lag behind infections, sparking hopes that they too will begin to slump in the coming weeks, as people infected by COVID at the recent peak either recover, or succumb to the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an appearance on ABC’s This Week that most US states could peak by mid-February
The situation also appears promising in Connecticut, where cases dropped from a January 10 high of 10,179 cases to 4,872 cases January 22, marking a 39 per cent dip. The state’s deaths are up 52 per cent.
Of course, the situation isn’t universal. The Eastern seaboard was the first to get hit by Omicron in early December, with the variant raging through quickly, as initially predicted.
But some states – such as Alabama, Kansas, Arizona and others are yet to peak, with cases still rising, and records being broken.
Cases in Washington have spiked 52 percent in the past two weeks as the infection rate in New Mexico ratcheted up 134 percent during the same timeframe, according to NYT data.
As of Sunday morning, the US had recorded 70,495,874 COVID infections, and 865,968 deaths, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of Johns Hopkins’ University data.
New York was once on a number of occasions the nation’s hotspot for Covid infections. Residents are pictured walking past a testing sign in New York City on January 20
Fauci said that while the numbers are moving in the right direction for the bulk of the nation, the situation varies state-by-state. He again pushed for Americans to get vaccinated and wear masks indoors, calling the measures the best lines of defense against the variant.
‘Things are looking good,’ he said. ‘We don’t want to get overconfident, but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now.’
He tempered his optimistic outlook by noting that the virus could once again wreak havoc if a new variant emerges.
Long term, he reiterated hope that the virus will become manageable.
‘We’d like it to get down to that level where it doesn’t disrupt us in a sense of getting back to a degree of normality.’