The Omicron wave appears to be slowing off the east coast of the United States


David Rubin, who tracks national coronavirus trends for PolicyLab at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, said federal data showed a sharp drop in coronavirus emergency room visits in the Northeast and beyond. of the country was on its way to a similar path.

“You have a picture of a rapidly improving east coast, a southeast that is not far behind, a midwest that may be a week behind the east coast, while the west coast has not yet reached its peak.” said Rubin. “Our assessment is likely to have peaked as a country.”

The United States reported more than a million cases a day in early January.

New York City still has an average of about 40,000 infections a day. While Omicron appears to cause milder illnesses with a lower hospitalization rate, the high volume of cases arriving at the same time has led to long waits in emergencies and staff shortages in some hospitals.

But the overall picture of New York City hospitals looks better.

Northwell Health, New York’s largest hospital system, has seen new daily admissions remain relatively stable since the new year, while about half of coronavirus patients were admitted for other causes and tested positive for routine tests for hospitalized patients. John D’Angelo, who oversees Northwell’s operations and emergency medicine, said other hospitals in the central part of the state have reported similar trends to calls from the Great New Hospitals Association. York.


This is different from previous waves, when hospitalizations are usually a delayed indicator, a contrast that experts believe is related to a milder illness with Omicron. But some smaller hospitals have been reporting higher tensions, prompting Northwell to lend staff and accept patients.

“The real game of this wave is to cover all the gaps when you don’t know where there will be pockets of sick people,” D’Angelo said. “But many independent hospitals and others do not have that luxury.”

New Yorkers should not yet be on guard to maintain positive trends and preserve the ability of hospitals to provide care, said Manhattan District President Mark Lander.

“While we may be beginning to breathe a sign of relief that it looks like we’re coming out the worst, I think it’s still a time for great caution,” Lander said in an interview. “The experts I’m talking to believe that February could be a turning point where hospitals start to feel less pressure, and I think this is the time when we can start looking to remove some of them.”


Omicron will continue to be important for business and entertainment in New York City for the rest of the winter. Organizers postponed the annual BroadwayCon theater convention in July, worried that the scheduled date for mid-February would not be safe.

But other events unfold, reinforced by the hope that Omicron will be attenuated in the city. Lunar New Year celebrations, including a parade, are held in Chinatown next month, said Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Association’s Local Development Corporation.

“Hopefully Kathy Hochul is right that now there is a downward turn, that maybe we have reached the maximum,” Chen said.

Restaurants are eager for companies to bring their workers back to the offices, said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. These plans have shown that they are constantly changing. Delta derailed the September return dates. Omicron delayed plans for January.

“Hopefully people who canceled their reservations and stopped going out to eat and drink during the rise of the Omicron hike will be excited to be back,” Rigie said.

Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, said people who fell during the worst of Omicron’s peaks are susceptible to new infections as they return to normal activities, which could lead to a prolonged decline. instead of a fast one.

“If you think about it, if we’re at the top and it goes down as fast as it went up, that means we’re halfway to polluting people,” said Shaman, who previously projected the city’s Omicron wave. New York. peaking in early January and the rest of the country at the end of the month. “There will still be a lot of infections going on and that means a lot of people are going to the hospital, a lot of work interruptions, a lot of school interruptions yet.”

There are limitations on case numbers as a window into the status of Omicron uploads, including a portion of unreported positive rapid test results and widespread asymptomatic screening that detects cases that would have gone unnoticed in previous increases.

Some areas use wastewater monitoring to detect coronavirus-associated genetic material as an alternative measure of virus prevalence in a community. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s tracking system shows a rapid decline in coronavirus-associated RNA copy samples after reaching a high several weeks ago, although the official count continues to rise. .

Shira Doron, an epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, said this provides additional evidence that U.S. states experiencing sharp increases will also see sharp declines. It could show a way to navigate a pandemic that has outbreaks without requiring long-term closures or mitigation measures, except for the emergence of new variants that act differently.

“This wave like any other will come to an end and there will be better and safer times in the fairly near future,” Doron said. “It simply came to our notice then. We don’t know what will happen after that. I really think there will be ups and downs and ups and downs for this pandemic for a long time to come. “

The Washington Post