COVID-19 Omicron Surge Peaks In Illinois: Analysis

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

ILLINOIS — The omicron coronavirus surge has peaked in Illinois, according to health experts, offering a glimmer of hope for Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic approaches the two-year mark. Health officials said the city of Chicago has also passed its omicron peak.

Optimism that the majority of states will see a peak in omicron variant cases by mid-February is guarded, however, clouded by fears that another variant may take its place.

An NBC News analysis of Department of Health and Human Services data shows that COVID-19 cases are trending downward in 24 states. As of Sunday, the report said, numbers declined to 706,000 average cases per day from a peak of 825,000 on Jan.15.

On Jan. 20, average hospitalizations peaked at nearly 160,000, though it takes a few days for hospitalization trends to catch up with daily infection trends, NBC explained.

“You never want to be overconfident when you’re dealing with this virus,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” The coronavirus, he added, has “surprised us in the past,” but he nevertheless expects a peak in most U.S. states by mid-February.

“Things are looking good. We don’t want to get overconfident,” Fauci reiterated, “but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now.”

Despite omicron cases decreasing in Illinois, the state marked a somber occasion last week: On the second anniversary of Illinois' first COVID-19 case, the department of public health said the death toll statewide is now over 30,000.

“On January 24, 2020 when we announced the first case of COVID-19 in Illinois, we were not imagining that two years later we would still be battling the virus with this ferocity,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “While we have seen the highest number of cases and hospitalizations throughout the entire pandemic this January, we are cautiously optimistic that those numbers will continue to decrease as quickly as they rose due to the omicron variant.”

World health officials sounded similar optimism Monday, with predictions that the omicron wave could give way to a new, more manageable phase of the pandemic.

The rapid drop of cases in most U.S. states follows a pattern seen in the United Kingdom and South Africa, with researchers predicting a period of slow spread in many countries by the end of March.

The World Health Organization issued a statement Monday anticipating an end to the “emergency phase” of the pandemic this year, and said the omicron variant “offers plausible hope for stabilization and normalization.”

Fauci and Dr. Hans Kluge, the WHO’s Europe regional director, both cautioned against complacency.

New coronavirus variants are almost certain to emerge, they said. But with vaccinations, new drug therapies, and testing and masks during surges, the world could reach a less-disruptive level of the disease in which the virus is “essentially integrated into the general respiratory infections we have learned to live with.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Chicago Patch

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting