US nearing omicron peak, Mayo Clinic model shows

COVID-19 modeling from Mayo Clinic suggests the omicron surge will peak nationally by the end of the month, in line with projections shared earlier this month.  

Data scientists at the Rochester, Minn.-based health system built a predictive model early in the pandemic to help inform hospital operations. Curtis Storlie, PhD, a data scientist on Mayo's predictive analytics task force, said in a Jan. 20 post on the organization's website that a peak will likely come by the end of January, followed by an abrupt decline in cases. 

"It doesn't mean, OK, everything's behind us. People are still going to get infected on the way down — just as many on the way down as on the way up. And some of those (infections) are going to produce severe illness. It's not something to take lightly," Dr. Storlie said. "But we will likely not have subsequent peaks. We're likely going to be heading down for the foreseeable future."

As of Jan. 19, the nation's COVID-19 case rate was 238 per 100,000 people. Mayo's modeling suggests this average will fall to 230.3 per 100,000 by Feb. 2. 

Dr. Storlie said it is difficult to tell what the pandemic will look like once the omicron surge has ended because of uncertainty surrounding the virus' evolution and Americans' vaccine booster uptake. 

Note: Mayo Clinic uses a Bayesian statistical model to forecast cases that automatically updates as new data becomes available. There is an uncertainty interval for forecast values, with lower and upper bounds that are not included in this list. To learn more about the data Mayo Clinic uses to forecast hot spots, click here. Becker's pulled the forecast values on Jan. 19 at 9:15 a.m. CST. 


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