Russo hoped the Delta wave, which hit the state of New York in the fall, would subside in early 2022. But then another variant crept in, one that is far less deadly, but much more transmissible.
“Omicron showed up,” Russo continued. “Then I said, ‘Ah, Omicron will extend this.’ ”
For this part of Pandemic Lessons, we asked epidemiologists to predict how much longer Omicron will grip us and what life will look like when it’s done.
The answer depends on your own state of health, where – and with whom – you spend your days and who else is going. It becomes even more difficult when you consider that many infected people may not show symptoms.
The projections from when it appeared last month turn out to be true. It is extremely contagious, generally (but not always) mild, and because it affects so many people quickly, Omicron reads out in hospitals.
Nearly 4,000 people tested positive in Erie County on Jan. 5, which is a record – and a misleading number because it does not include unreported home tests.
State officials reported on January 7 that across New York, cases among teens have multiplied by 10 in the past few weeks, while adult cases have more than doubled. Pediatric hospital cases for Covid-19 have nearly quadrupled since Christmas and have increased from 150 to 570, most of them unvaccinated.
While the vast majority of people infected with Omicron are not hospitalized, the increase still causes people to miss school and work, leading to cancellations and closures. The continued proliferation also puts people who are immunocompromised or have other health conditions at increased risk, and it further delays our ability to regain any kind of freedom, openness, or normality that we crave.