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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Peak of Omicron?

In December, the number of new cases of Covid-19 in New York increased more than twenty-fold. In the last few days it has flattened out.

In both New Jersey and Maryland, new cases are down slightly this week. In several major cities, the numbers are also showing signs of leveling off.

In Boston, the amount of Covid virus found in sewage, which has been a major indicator of disease trends in the past, has fallen by about 40 percent since its peak just after January 1.

“We really try to never make any predictions about this virus because it always baffles us,” Dr. Shira Doron, an epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, told GBH News. “But at least wastewater is suggesting a sharp decline, and so we hope that this means that the number of cases will also drop sharply, and then hospitalizations and deaths will follow.”

As Doron suggested, it’s too early to be certain that the Omicron wave has peaked even in areas of encouraging data, which tend to be where Omicron first arrived in the US. But there are good reasons to consider this the most likely scenario. “It looks like we’re approaching that peak,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said this week.

(Look for cases for your county here.)

The huge spike in cases that lasts about one month and then a rapid decline is consistent with experience in some places where Omicron appeared earlier than in the US. In South Africa, the number of new daily cases has dropped by about 70 percent since the mid-December peak. A chart showing the latest trends in South Africa looks like a thin inverted V.

In the UK, where pandemic trends often outpaced those in the US by weeks, cases peaked just after New Year’s Day and have declined somewhat since:

In previous versions of Covid, such as the Delta variant, the up and down cycles tended to last longer. Once the outbreak began, the number of cases often rose for about two months and then declined.

Scientists don’t fully understand Covid cycles, but the explanation likely has to do with some combination of the biological qualities of the virus and the size of a typical human social network. About two months later, the outbreak of the earlier variants began to burn out like wildfire.

Omicron is so contagious that it spreads faster. This rapid spread may also mean that it reaches the majority of people who are vulnerable to infection more quickly. Omicron’s short cycle of ups and downs is now a “familiar pattern,” says Joseph Allen of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Ali Mokdad, a professor of health sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, told The Associated Press that he believes the true number of U.S. cases, including those not included in any official count, has already peaked, likely by last week. “It will fall as fast as it rose,” he predicted.

To be clear, the current emergency is not on the verge of ending. The peak incidence is observed only in those places where Omicron arrived earlier, mainly in the northeast. In much of the country, the number of cases is still on the rise.

Some hospitals are already overwhelmed, and hospitalization trends often lag occupancy trends by about a week. Mortality trends tend to lag another couple of weeks. “It will be a tough two or three weeks,” Moqdad said. From the looks of things, a staggering amount of severe illness will hit the US in the coming weeks, mostly among the unvaccinated.

Read Also:  Maduro's ally extradited to the United States on money laundering charges

(See also: United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said that although 3,000 employees recently tested positive for the virus, none of the vaccinated employees were hospitalized. This is a big change. Before the company passed the vaccination mandate, the average was more than one United Airlines employee died every week from Covid.)

However, the beginning of the end of the Omicron wave – if it turns out to be real – will be very good news.

This would mean that the milder variant became the dominant form of Covid, but no longer caused a spike in cases and overwhelmed hospitals. This would mean that tens of millions of Americans have developed additional immunity as a result of infection with omicrons. This would mean that the country would take a big step towards a future in which Covid becomes an endemic disease like the flu rather than a pandemic that dominates life.

Lauren Ansel Meyers, who leads the Covid Analysis Project at the University of Texas, said people may soon look back on Omicron as a turning point. “At some point, we will be able to draw a line — and Omicron could be that point — where we move from what is a catastrophic global threat to something that is a much more manageable disease,” she told AP.

Of course, as we all should have known by now, Covid can also surprise again. Another possibility, according to Meyers, is that a dangerous new option could emerge this spring. This outcome is both unlikely and plausible, which is always difficult to understand.

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Bad habits: Cigarettes are making a comeback with a younger audience.

Notes: Every year he writes to her that he loves her. Feeling different every time.

Classic Times: Learn to love knitting.

Lives lived: Ronnie Spector was the lead singer of the Ronettes, who in the 1960s gave the female pop sound a bad-girl edge. She died at 78 years old.

What if we could read clothing labels the same way we read food labels? It’s starting to happen: transparency and traceability reach the labels on the shelf.

The idea dates back to at least 2019, when the English knitwear brand introduced a tag on its sweaters that allowed shoppers to see where its merino wool came from, writes Dana Thomas in The Times. More recently, the Nashville-based eco-friendly brand added something very similar to a nutritional label showing how shoe manufacturing impacts the workers involved and the environment.

Here’s how it works and why it’s worth knowing where your clothes come from. — Claire Moses, Morning Writer.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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