Some health experts say that Omicron cases may peak and fall dramatically in the United States based on the pattern documented of the variant spread in Britain and South Africa.
The reason for that hopeful prediction is fairly simple: The Omicron variant is so contagious that it will run out of people to infect very soon.
“It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” said health metrics sciences professor Ali Mokdad of the University of Washington in Seattle.
According to a model developed at the University of Washington, coronavirus cases in the U.S. should peak at about Jan. 19 at about 1.2 million daily reported cases. Cases will likely begin to drop "simply because everybody who could be infected will be infected," said Mokdad.
Government data showed that daily cases in Britain dropped to 140,000 after rising to 200,000 earlier in January. That pattern followed a similar curve in South Africa and may repeat itself in the U.S. in the coming weeks.
But experts are cautious about drawing hasty conclusions.
"We are seeing a definite falling-off of cases in the U.K., but I'd like to see them fall much further before we know if what happened in South Africa will happen here," said Professor of Medicine Dr. Paul Hunter of University of East Anglia in Britain.
The World Health Organization cited the modeling from the University of Washington to predict that half of the population in Europe will be infected with Omicron through the next eight weeks.
Experts say that people should still stick to social distancing guidelines to avoid getting ill.
"It's going to be a tough two or three weeks. We have to make hard decisions to let certain essential workers continue working, knowing they could be infectious," added Mokdad.
A separate study found that patients suffering from the Omicron infection were far less likely to die from it, and far less likely to need serious hospitalization, bolstering hopes that the seriousness of the pandemic could be mitigated significantly.
Some local governments are already reviving lockdown procedures over the spread of the Omicron variant. In Sonoma County in California, health officials banned large gatherings and asked people to avoid contact with people outside of their household for a month to prevent their hospitals from being overwhelmed.
Here's more about the Omicron variant:
New data shows risk of death from omicron is 91% lower than delta l GMA www.youtube.com