1) I don’t have time right now to put together a full update on the pandemic, so I’m just sending out an excellent update by Dr. Katelyn Jetelina – click here to read it. Excerpt:
There is clear decoupling of hospitalizations from cases in most states, but certainly not all. We haven’t seen the decoupling yet in hard hit cities, like NYC, Boston, and Chicago. In other words, there’s no separation between increases in cases and increases in hospitalizations and deaths (see figures below). But it’s important to note that deaths lag cases and these graphs anchor cases on Dec 17 (so these deaths may still be from Delta, not Omicron). It will be important to watch this in the coming weeks.
… All case projections have the U.S. peaking mid-January. There are also several hard indicators showing that we will peak soon:
- Countries like the U.K. and Denmark, who are ahead of the U.S. in the Omicron wave by ~2 weeks, are peaking. Hopefully this means we are next.
- Cases have seemed to peak in early Omicron states like D.C., Delaware, and Puerto Rico. This could be a reflection of bad weather (snow storms in the Northeast impact on case reporting) and/or overwhelmed labs (contributing to case report lag). We should know in the next few days whether these peaks are “true” signals.
- Viral load in Boston’s wastewater has begun to decline. Throughout the pandemic, wastewater has acted as a reliable predictor (4-10 days prior) of case patterns. This is a good sign that areas in the Northeast will be peaking soon.
Time will tell when we peak. But, regardless, this will be a peak in cases. Once we reach that point, we still have a 3-4 week window for hospitalizations and deaths to peak. It will be a rough couple of weeks coming up. Hang in there.
2) Here’s another good summary of where we’re at in today’s NYT: Early Data Hints at Omicron’s Potential Toll Across America. Excerpt:
In New York City, Boston and Chicago — cities with some of the country’s earliest Omicron surges — deaths have followed cases at a slightly reduced scale than in previous peaks. But because of the extraordinarily high case count, even a proportionally lower death toll from the current case curve in the United States could be devastating.
In early-hit cities, hospitals are seeing more patients testing positive for Covid-19 than at any time last year. Because of the sheer infectiousness of the Omicron variant, many who arrive at the hospital for other ailments test positive for the coronavirus. Some doctors have also said that patients who do have Covid as a primary diagnosis are faring better than during previous waves.
Even so, the number of Covid-19 patients who need intensive care or mechanical ventilation is approaching levels not seen since last winter. And the sheer number of patients is overwhelming to hospitals, where staffing shortages are putting healthcare workers under immense strain.