Omicron will peak in most states by mid-February + 5 more forecasts

Most states will likely see omicron cases peak by mid-February, Anthony Fauci, MD, said during a Jan. 23 interview on ABC's "This Week."

The forecast comes as COVID-19 cases fell 5 percent last week compared to a week prior, according to CDC data. Cases have peaked and sharply declined in some parts of the Northeast and upper Midwest, but are still rising in Southern and Western states, according to Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

"Things are looking good. We don't want to get overconfident, but they look like they're going in the right direction right now," he told ABC. "There may be a bit more pain and suffering with hospitalizations in those areas of the country that have not been fully vaccinated or have not gotten boosters."

Five more forecasts:

1. Based on national omicron trends, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, predicted a February return to the office for many U.S. workers.

"I think that timeline [is] still intact," he said Jan. 23 on CBS' "Face the Nation." "You're seeing a lot of businesses make decisions to do, return to work March 1 because I think they want to give themselves a cushion, especially having been surprised before."

2. Daily COVID-19 hospital admissions will remain stable or "have an uncertain trend" over the next four weeks, with 9,600 to 36,900 new admissions likely reported on Feb. 11, according to ensemble forecasts the CDC published Jan. 19. For context, the current seven-day hospitalization average for Jan. 12-18 is 20,990, a 1.1 percent increase from the previous week's average. 

3. CDC forecasting predicts COVID-19 deaths will increase nationwide over the next month, with 9,800 to 35,700 deaths likely reported in the week ending Feb. 12. Current forecasts should be interpreted with caution, the CDC said, as they may not fully account for omicron's rapid spread.

4. If the omicron surge ends quickly, some health experts predict the U.S. will experience a "quiet period." COVID-19 cases may decline from March through spring or summer, according to John Swartzberg, MD, an infectious diseases and vaccinology expert and clinical professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health. 

"I think May or June is going to really look up for us. I'm quite optimistic," he told CNN. "Generally speaking, the level of immunity in our population is going to be much higher than it was going into the omicron pandemic, and that's going to help us not only with omicron and delta, if they're still circulating, but it will also help us with any new variants."

5. Omicron's rapid spread offers "plausible hope" the pandemic may soon enter a new phase, a World Health Organization official said Jan. 24. Dr. Hans Henri Kluge, WHO's regional director for Europe, said the coronavirus variant may lend itself to "stabilization and normalization" through natural immunity and vaccination, though he noted that it is too soon for nations to let down their guard. "The pandemic is far from over, but I am hopeful we can end the emergency phase in 2022 and address other health threats that urgently require our attention," Dr. Kluge concluded.


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