COVID-19 Omicron Surge Peaks, Cases Drop In Florida: Analysis

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FLORIDA — The omicron coronavirus surge has peaked in Florida and cases are slowly dropping, according to health experts, offering a glimmer of hope for Americans as the COVID-19 pandemic approaches the two-year mark.

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.

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“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.”

In Florida, coronavirus cases have dropped significantly over the past two weeks.

From Jan. 14-20, about 289,000 new cases and a 26.8 percent new case positivity rate were reported, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

Just a week before that, from Jan. 7-13, the state saw about 430,000 new cases and a 29.3 percent positivity rate reported, FDOH data shows. Meanwhile, about 397,000 new cases and a 31.2 percent positivity rate were reported during the week prior, from Dec. 31 to Jan. 6.

Though the state health department only releases this information on a weekly basis, every Friday afternoon, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that COVID-19 numbers are continuing to drop in Florida.

About 35,000 cases were reported for Monday and another 36,000 for Sunday, according to the CDC.

Florida repeatedly reported more than 50,000 cases in a day during this omicron surge and broke its record for the number of cases reported in a single day multiple times. The state’s highest number of cases, 77,075, was reported for Jan. 8.

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.

Related Story: Hope Seen Once Omicron Increases Global Immunity

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 Sarasota Patch

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