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Epidemiologists were anxious as they awaited the next batch of data about the omicron variant, but already it’s pretty clear that the number of hospitalizations from the so-called “omicron wave” is far below the level from earlier waves, including last year’s winter wave.

As Bloomberg reports, the seven-day average of new cases in the US hit 206,577 on Sunday, roughly 18% lower than the all-time high recorded on Jan. 11… Meanwhile, hospitalizations rose to a seven-day average of 8,964, only half their earlier peak.

“We are seeing exponential increases in cases, and a much lower increase in hospitalizations and deaths,” said Albert Ko, chair of the department of epidemiology and microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health.

And it’s not just in the US: London has also seen lower hospitalization numbers during its latest wave, as data shared by Dr. Scott Gottlieb show.

This isn’t exactly a shocker: three studies published last week show that hospitalization rates for omicron have been far lower than with previous strains.

Scientists even attempted to determine exactly how much of the decline in hospitalization rates has been due to growing levels of natural immunity; and even when patients do end up in the hospital with omicron, they appear to spend less time there.

On a relative basis, Hospitalizations are well below what was seen in prior Covid waves.

It appears there is less risk of hospitalized disease across the board, but we have to be a little bit careful about interpreting that,”  said Jeffrey Morris, professor and director of the biostatistics division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

And that’s not the only new piece of data that might help put the public’s mind at ease:

The most recent spike was purely “technical” in nature.

Still, 2MM Americans have been confirmed infected in recent weeks, sending the effective unemployment rate surging.

But it wouldn’t be Xmas without the Grinch, and unfortunately for those who believe the peak of this latest wave might be right around the corner, Bianco’s research suggests otherwise:

If Europe’s path is followed by US, we still have six more weeks before this exponential wave peaks.


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