CategoryUSA

Is COVID retreating in the U.S.? Data paints encouraging scenario

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New coronavirus cases are falling in parts of the United States hardest hit by the fast-spreading Omicron variant, according to a Reuters analysis of public health data, offering an early indication the virus might once again be on retreat.

COVID-19 infections have decreased in 15 states plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, an analysis of the past week through Wednesday compared with the prior week showed.

In the Northeast, which saw some of the highest case loads during the latest surge, infections are down 36% week-over-week.

The drop was more modest at the national level, with the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases falling 1% as of Wednesday, according to the Reuters tally.

COVID-19 data often lag a few days behind the actual state of affairs.

“Certainly it bodes well for us in terms of the trajectory of Omicron,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University in New York City.

https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/is-covid-retreating-us-data-paints-encouraging-scenario-2022-01-21/

NYC Omicron Wave ‘Clearly in Retreat,’ ER Doc Says. Here Are His Big Takeaways From the Surge

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A day after New York City’s top elected official and health expert declared the ferocious omicron variant-fueled viral wave to be in retreat, a noted Manhattan emergency room doctor who has been documenting his experience throughout the COVID pandemic provided a detailed analysis of the data to underscore the point.

Dr. Craig Spencer, who vaulted to Twitter fame during the city’s Ebola scare in 2014 and has been sharing his thoughts on omicron over the last month or so, said Wednesday all signs point to the end of the omicron wave in New York City.

He also said recent data clearly shows the “vastly different experience for vaccinated and unvaccinated New Yorkers” during the surge based on the three most critical COVID indicators: cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/covid-vaccine-omicron-peak-nyc-cases-symptoms-breakthrough-infection-death/3502695/

New York and other north-eastern US states see a rapid fall in Covid cases

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New York City and some north-eastern US states appear to be seeing rapid decreases in their numbers of Covid-19 cases in recent days, raising the possibility that the Omicron wave has now already peaked in some parts of America.

In New York City the rolling seven-day average of new cases was less than 28,000 a day on 16 January, down from an average of more than 40,000 on 9 January.

Similar patterns were being observed in the state as a whole and other nearby regions.

“The Covid forecast is improving … the Covid clouds are parting,” said Kathy Hochul, the New York governor, in a statement Sunday after releasing figures that showed positivity rates in the state are falling sharply. “Overall, the prognosis, the forecast, for Covid is much brighter than it had been before.”

Some 400,000 tests were conducted in New York on Saturday, with a positivity rate of 12.9%. Just one week ago, on a similar number of tests, the positivity rate was almost 20%. The state reported 51,264 new cases on Saturday, down from the peak of more than 90,000 a week earlier, according to a New York Times database. The number of people hospitalized fell for a fourth straight day.

Several other north-east states – including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island – may be heading in a similar, down-trending direction.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/17/us-coronavirus-cases-decrease-latest

New York Cases Continue to Drop

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Even as New York State prepared for a significant snowfall on Sunday, Gov. Kathy Hochul told New Yorkers that the state’s coronavirus forecast was improving:

“The Covid clouds are parting,” Ms. Hochul said.

For the past week, New Yorkers have watched with tentative optimism as the skyrocketing rate of new coronavirus cases began to slow, then fall. Test positivity rates are down as well, with just 13 percent of statewide tests on Saturday coming back positive compared to 23 percent a few weeks ago. In every region but one, seven-day averages of new cases were lower than the past three days.

This and other recent data show that the latest surge in New York driven by the Omicron variant may be starting to trend downward, and that several Northeast states — including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island — may be heading in the same direction.

“Overall, the prognosis, the forecast for Covid is much brighter than it has been before,” Ms. Hochul said at a briefing, giving one of her clearest messages yet that the crush of cases caused by the Omicron variant might be beginning to lift. She went on: “That is very positive news, if our hospitalizations continue to go down as well.”

Statewide, New York reported 51,264 new cases on Saturday, down from the peak of more than 90,000 a week earlier, according to a New York Times database. The average number of hospitalizations across the state appear to be leveling off as well.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/01/16/world/omicron-covid-vaccine-tests


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New York’s governor announces a significant drop in daily cases, a rare sign of hope

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New York State recorded about 48,000 coronavirus cases on Friday, a nearly 47 percent drop from the roughly 90,000 cases reported a week earlier, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Saturday.

The total number of positive cases — 47,870 — represented only 14.6 percent of the 327,427 tests reported by the state, a significant decline from the 23 percent positivity rate recorded on Jan. 2.

Hospitalizations also seemed to decrease slightly, with 38 fewer hospitalizations recorded on Friday compared with the day before.

This and other recent data show that the latest surge in New York driven by the Omicron variant may be starting to trend downward from a Jan. 9 peak, and that several Northeast states — including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island — may be heading in the same direction.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/01/16/world/omicron-covid-vaccine-tests#new-york-governor-announces-a-significant-drop-in-daily-cases-a-rare-sign-of-hope


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Omicron waves appear to slow in New York City, other major metropolitan areas

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The explosion of omicron cases along the Interstate 95 corridor from the Mid-Atlantic to New England is showing signs of slowing down, according to health officials and epidemiologists, offering reason for cautious optimism that the turning point could be near and that the coronavirus variant’s U.S. trajectory is similar to that of other countries.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said Tuesday the rates of tests returning positive and case increases seem to be slowing — particularly in New York City, which emerged as an early epicenter of the highly contagious variant.

“They’re still high, but we are not at the end, but I want to say that this is, to me, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of hope in a time when we desperately need that,” Hochul said at a news conference.

“Omicron is more like a flash flood than a wave. It goes to enormously high levels very quickly and then, based on other parts of the world, may come down very quickly,” said Tom Frieden, a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director and New York City health commissioner. “We know that the more people who are up to date with their vaccines, the fewer deaths there will be, the fewer hospitalizations there will be and the less economic disruption there will be.”

David Rubin, who tracks national coronavirus trends for PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says federal data shows a sharp decline in emergency room visits for coronavirus in the Northeast and the rest of the nation is on track to follow a similar path.

“You got a picture of an East Coast that’s rapidly improving, a Southeast that’s not far behind, a Midwest that’s maybe a week behind the East Coast while the West Coast has not yet peaked,” Rubin said. “Our assessment is we have likely peaked as a country.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/01/12/covid-omicron-plateau-new-york


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‘Unambiguously good news’: Sharp decline in COVID wastewater levels in Boston area

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New data suggest omicron cases may have peaked in the Boston area. In December, the level of COVID found in the metro area’s sewage rose extremely rapidly. Now, those numbers show a sharp decline.

“When I refreshed the website and saw it, I literally punched the air and let out a hoot because it was something I’ve been hoping for,” said Bill Hanage, a professor of epidemiology and co-director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “It’s unambiguously good news.”

The size of the decline, as well as the fact that it was consistent across both the northern and southern catchment areas, makes Hanage confident that the spike is over.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) collaborates with Biobot Analytics to measure the level of COVID found at its Deer Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. With testing shortages and large numbers of asymptomatic cases, experts have worried the state’s official case count is a severe undercount, and many have turned to wastewater measurements.

“It is an unbiased indicator of the number of people infected today,” said Scott Olesen, an epidemiologist at Biobot Analytics.

Hanage said the steep decline likely means major disruptions from illness and quarantines will subside.

https://www.wbur.org/news/2022/01/12/wastewater-covid-level-decline-new-data

Omicron leads to much shorter hospital stays, Californian study finds

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Omicron patients spend much less time in hospital compared to those infected with delta, according to a major new Californian study.

The preprint, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, analysed nearly 70,000 Covid patients across southern California infected in December – including roughly 52,000 infected with the highly mutated omicron variant.

Researchers found the risk of hospitalisation was cut in half, with 0.5 per cent of patients with omicron admitted compared to 1.3 per cent of those with delta (235 and 222 people respectively). This chimes with previous findings from the UK, South Africa and Denmark.

In the California study, the median duration of a hospital stay for those with omicron was also 3.4 days shorter than those admitted with delta – reflecting almost a 70 per cent reduction in the length of stay.

Dr Joseph Lewnard, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley and co-author of the study, described the reduction as “striking” in a Twitter thread.

“We identified substantially reduced risk of severe clinical outcomes among patients with presumed omicron variant infections,” the authors added in the preprint, published on medRxiv.

“Omicron variant infections were associated with 52 per cent, 53 per cent, 74 per cent, and 91 per cent reductions in risk of any subsequent hospitalisation, symptomatic hospitalisation, ICU admission, and mortality, relative to delta variant infections,” they said.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/omicron-leads-much-shorter-hospital-stays-californian-study


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