The Omicron variant is picking up its speed of transmission in the Northeast. Not that long ago, it was less than 1% of COVID-19 cases in the United States. You can see this last week has been a big week for Omicron. It is now 13% of the cases in the New York State and New Jersey area. Omicron just got here and it is spreading so fast. It has been reported that it replicates twice as fast as the Delta variant.
Are people dying from Omicron?
People are definitely still dying from Delta variant since its the dominant strain for now. We can see below that there has been a recent uptick in deaths from COVID-19. Last week, we had about 1100 deaths each day due to COVID-19. It is too early to say which variant these deaths are from. However, I would be cautious as always with COVID-19.
The CDC also forecasts an increase in deaths in the coming weeks as shown below in the red. CDC also has forecasts at the state level which you can see here. I would definitely look at the information for your state because each state has separate policies or mandates for masking and social distancing which impact the amount of deaths. The dark red is what will most likely happen.
Are people getting hospitalized from Omicron?
It is too early to say but there has certainly been an uptick in hospitalizations in the last few weeks. COVID-19 is more easily spread when people gather indoors and it is cold. The increase is predictable given it is winter. Hopefully, we will soon know what role Omicron is playing with hospitalizations.
What should you do?
I mentioned before the best approach to not getting COVID-19 wear your mask and get vaccinated. For those who are already vaccinated, make sure you do not forget your booster shot. Immunity wanes with the current COVID-19 vaccines after about 6 months. Your best chance at protection is to get an additional shot to boost your immunity.
For those around immunocompromised individuals and those not yet vaccinated due to their age, it best to keep social distancing and wearing your mask. If you don’t have an N95 mask, now is the time to get one. You can buy them on Amazon and other places.
For those who must travel, please wear your N95 mask in transit. However, it is better to stay home. Also, minimize being indoors with people who you are not living with. We keep on having more variants because we have given the virus to many opportunities to mutate. Stay safe and happy holidays!
“Public Health & Data Science Newsletter” is written by Andrea Hobby, MS— an epidemiologist & data scientist. Consider financially supporting this newsletter. You will help me to write regularly about public health & data science. To support the effort, please subscribe here: