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Omicron is Peaking in Some Regions, but Continues to Surge in Others

January 21, 2022  ||  by Danielle Bloch, MPH

Omicron is Peaking in Some Regions, but Continues to Surge in Others

Good news: nationally, the wave of COVID cases fueled by the Omicron variant has peaked. But, trends vary vastly across regions. Kinsa data continues to show relief in the Northeast, which was hit hard by the Omicron surge in December. On the flip side, COVID cases remain record-high and increasing in much of the South and the West (WI, SC, UT, and AK in particular), where the Omicron wave hit later on. With parts of the country peaking, newly reported COVID-19 cases in the US started to decrease over the past week, but deaths will lag and unfortunately continue to increase. Though numbers vary regionally, national hospitalizations are seemingly approaching a plateau, which is good news for a burnt out and overburdened health care system.  

It’s important to note: even in places where COVID cases are decreasing, they are still at rates higher than ever seen in the pandemic prior to the Omicron wave (and are likely an undercount due to at-home testing and overall test availability). It’s still a good idea to continue taking the precautions you have throughout this surge to keep you and your family as healthy as possible. At-home testing kits are now available for free from the federal government (order here, four per household) and N95 masks will be distributed for free beginning next week at pharmacies and community health centers.

Kinsa data shows some regions of the country cooling off, and others heating up

Cough, Cold, and Flu Activity is Decreasing, Except in the South 

Another relatively promising trend: Kinsa data shows cough, cold, and flu symptoms decreasing across the country, except for the South, where activity (particularly in the pediatric population) increased over the past week. These symptoms are rising in Kentucky and Mississippi for both adults and kids, and overall activity remains above (albeit only slightly) the 2017-2018 season, the most severe flu season of recent years. Note, the CDC reports influenza activity declined over the past week but remains elevated, and the level of activity varies by region. The central part of the country is seeing more activity right now, and overall activity is expected to continue for several more weeks. We’re not out of the woods of this unprecedented illness season yet, but any relief, like declining flu and COVID cases, is welcome. 

Readers, please note: One input in Kinsa’s HealthWeather COVID-19 risk is daily confirmed cases as collected from state public health authorities by Johns Hopkins University. On the HealthWeather map, Florida and Tennessee may appear to have lower COVID risk than they actually have, due to recent state reporting delays/ lags

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