WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- The Omicron surge may have peaked in Britain and could be about to do the same in the United States, experts report.
That's because the COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa in mid-November is so contagious that the variant may already be running out of people to infect, the Associated Press reported.
In Britain, government data show that reported new COVID-19 cases fell to about 140,000 a day in the last week, compared with more than 200,000 daily cases earlier this month.
Meanwhile, a University of Washington model suggests the number of daily reported cases in the United States will top out at 1.2 million by Jan. 19 and then fall sharply, â€śsimply because everybody who could be infected will be infected,â€ť Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the university, told the AP.
â€śItâ€™s going to come down as fast as it went up,â€ť Mokdad added.
He even suggested that the actual number of daily infections in the United States -- which includes people who've never been tested -- may have already peaked at 6 million on Jan. 6.
Another team, from the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, predicts that reported cases in the U.S. will peak within the week, but there "are still a lot of people who will get infected as we descend the slope on the backside,â€ť consortium director Lauren Ancel Meyers told the AP.
â€śAt the end of this wave, far more people will have been infected by some variant of COVID,â€ť Meyers added. â€śAt some point, weâ€™ll be able to draw a line â€” and Omicron may be that point â€” where we transition from what is a catastrophic global threat to something thatâ€™s a much more manageable disease.â€ť
The modeling statistics have raised hopes that the U.K. and the United States are about to see what happened in South Africa, where in the span of about a month the wave crested at record highs and then plummeted, the AP reported.
â€śWe are seeing a definite falling-off of cases in the U.K., but Iâ€™d like to see them fall much further before we know if what happened in South Africa will happen here,â€ť Dr. Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at Britainâ€™s University of East Anglia, told the wire service. "There will probably be some ups and downs along the way, but I would hope that by Easter, we will be out of this."
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on tracking COVID-19.
SOURCE: Associated Press
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