Model predicts US omicron wave crest by next week as UK case declines

A University of Washington model predicts the US omicron wave will peak by next week as the UK continues to see a decline in cases.


The model projects that the number of daily reported cases in the U.S. will reach 1.2 million by January 19 and drop sharply after “simply because anyone who may be infected will be infected,” said Ali, a professor of health metrics science. Moqdad said. University of Washington in Seattle.

“It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” Mokdad said.


The reason for the shortage is probably because the omicron variant is so contagious that it may end up infecting people in South Africa in just a month and a half after it was initially detected.

Britain’s COVID case count dropped to nearly 140,000 in the past week, after exceeding 200,000 a day earlier this month, according to government figures.


Kevin McConway, a retired professor of applied statistics at Britain’s Open University, said the COVID surge could peak in London, despite cases rising elsewhere, like in south-west England and the West Midlands.

However, experts warn that much is still unknown about how the next phase of the pandemic may progress. The projected reduction or plateau in the number of cases in both the countries is not happening everywhere nor at the same pace. There are still months and weeks to go for patients and overcrowded hospitals, even as the waves peak.

Britain’s COVID case count dropped to nearly 140,000 in the past week, after exceeding 200,000 a day earlier this month, according to government figures. Above, a man gets a swollen nose while testing for COVID-19 at a testing booth in New York on December 17, 2021.
Ed Jones / AFP via Getty Images

“There are still a lot of people who will get infected as we go down the backwards slope,” said Lauren Ansel Meyers, director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, which predicts that reported cases will be within weeks. will be at its peak.


The data has raised hopes that both countries are about to do something similar to South Africa, where in the span of about a month, the wave reached record highs and then fell significantly.

Professor of Medicine Dr. Paul Hunter said, “We are definitely seeing a decline in cases in the UK, but what happened in South Africa, I would like to see them fall further before I know whether it will happen here or not. ” at the University of East Anglia, UK.

The differences between Britain and South Africa, the UK’s older population and its tendency for people to spend more time indoors in winter, could mean a major outbreak for the country and others like it.


On the other hand, the British authorities’ decision to adopt minimal sanctions against Omicron could enable the virus to rip through the population and run its course much faster than in Western European countries, which imposed stricter COVID-19 controls such as in France, Spain and Italy.

Shabbir Madhi, dean of health sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, said European countries enforcing lockdowns will not necessarily go through an omicron wave with fewer infections; Cases can be spread over a long period.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization said 7 million new COVID-19 cases had been reported across Europe in the past week, in what it called a “widespread tidal wave across the region”. The WHO cited modeling from Mokdad’s group that predicts that half of Europe’s population will be infected with Omicron within about eight weeks.

However, by that time, Hunter and others hope that the world will overtake the Omicron boom.

“There will probably be some ups and downs along the way, but I hope we’re out of it by Easter,” Hunter said.

Still, the sheer number of infected people can prove to be overwhelming for fragile health systems, said Dr Prabhat Jha of the Center for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“The next few weeks are going to be brutal because in absolute numbers, so many people are getting infected that it will spread to the ICU,” Jha said.

Mokdad also warned in the US, “It’s going to be a tough two or three weeks. We have to make tough decisions to keep some essential workers from working, knowing they can be contagious.”

O’Micron could one day be seen as a turning point in the pandemic, said Meyers at the University of Texas. Gained immunity from all new infections, along with new drugs and continued vaccinations, could provide the coronavirus with something we can more easily co-exist with.

“At the end of this wave, far more people will have been infected than some form of COVID,” Meyers said. “At some point, we’ll be able to draw a line—and the omicron could be the point—where we transition from a catastrophic global threat to something that’s a more manageable disease.”

That said, it’s a plausible future, but there’s also the potential for a new version — one that’s even worse than Omicron’s — arising.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.