Omicron peak may be days away

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:39 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The peak of the omicron variant is almost here according to some local and national experts.

“Maybe in the next week or two,” said Dr. Joe Gerald, the Director of Public Health at the University of Arizona. “We’re almost there, we’re almost at the peak.”

Dr. Gerald believes the peak could come somewhere between Jan. 16 and Jan. 23, but certainly by the end of the month.

The number of cases has been doubling in Arizona every six to seven days. There were 18,573 cases reported statewide today.

Still, even if the peak is reached within the next seek, there is still a lot of COVID out there.

“We’ve got to come down the other side,” Dr. Gerald said. “I think unlike delta we’re going to come down very quickly from the backside of the omicron wave.”

But even with a quick drop in case numbers, there are so many cases, hospitalizations and ICU use are expected to grow during the month of February.

“There are going to be a lot of people in the emergency department that just feel terrible and they think they have COVID and they don’t know whether they need hospitalization,” he said. “So our ED’s will be busy for the next several weeks.”

But it’s still a bit premature to celebrate or to start relaxing the standards which we’re all accustomed to as we enter the third year of the pandemic.

“There’s going to be a lot for weeks past the peak, so we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “People can’t throw away their masks and invite everybody over for a sleepover just yet but the peak is coming and its going to come quickly.”

Which begs the question as to what comes next, what might March look like absent a new, more virulent variant.

“There’s not a lot of certainty about what March is going to look like,” he said. “I’m hopeful that it’s going to be, beginning of the end is too strong, I’m hopeful it will offer a respite for us.”

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