Bye Bye Omicron 1.0

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I used the 1.0 because there now appears to be a different Omicron version making the rounds. Have no idea what it might do but at least this original wave has peaked and is going down. That doesn’t mean it has peaked everywhere but I suspect we are close to that happening.

For the week ending on January 23rd, we had 4,647,362 newly reported cases. Still the third highest number of new cases since this thing started but the lowest total in three weeks and down 16% from last week which now looks to be the peak.

It doesn’t mean that things have peaked everywhere but we have enough states on the way down that the national totals have peaked.

The state graphs have been redone with an expanded y-axis which will just make the difference between Omicron and previous variants more obvious. The list of states has reversed from several weeks ago as the states in the Northeast that were among the first to see the Omicron wave are now seeing cases drop and they make the top of the list.

This has been the pattern all along. Seasonal and geographic patterns where the wave travels across country and places that look good end up looking bad when the wave hits. I am just more and more convinced that all of the efforts to control this are failures and it is really just the seasonal and geographic patterns that dictate cases.

Let’s start in the Northeast where five of the nine states in this region rank in the top 10 when you consider cases and the current direction of the trend. Maine has the lowest number of cases per million in the country and never really seemed to see an Omicron wave. Don’t know if one is waiting. Connecticut and New Jersey saw cases fall by almost 50% last week and they also are in the top 10 for the lowest number of cases per million. Rhode Island still has a large number of cases but is seeing them drop. New Hampshire and Vermont saw cases go up last week – only slightly in New Hampshire but almost double in Vermont.

  • Maine (3)
  • New Jersey (4)
  • Connecticut (5)
  • New York (6)
  • Pennsylvania (10)
  • Massachusetts (19)
  • New Hampshire (28)
  • Rhode Island (31)
  • Vermont (37)

Moving down the Atlantic, we have the top two in DC and Maryland which also saw cases drop by 50% (or more in the case of DC) and now have very low totals compared to the rest of the country. Virginia joins them in the top 10. Delaware is finally seeing cases drop while North Carolina now brings up the rear in this region with the highest number of cases. Cases did drop there but by much less than the rest of the region.

  • DC (1)
  • Maryland (2)
  • Virginia (8)
  • Delaware (14)
  • North Carolina (27)

In the Midwest, Wisconsin is the biggest problem with the highest number of cases per million in the country and a big increase from last week. Cases fell in Ohio and Illinois and there were small increases in Indiana and Michigan. Ohio is the best ranking 11th in the country but most of this region is above average compared to the rest of the country.

  • Ohio (11)
  • Illinois (18)
  • Michigan (23)
  • Indiana (26)
  • Wisconsin (46)

In this next small group, West Virginia ranks among the worst which is interesting considering the states around it (Pennsylvania and Ohio ) are in better shape. Kentucky is the only one of the three where cases fell last week but it was by less than 1%. So the peak hasn’t hit here yet.

  • Kentucky (21)
  • Tennessee (38)
  • West Virginia (45)

In the Southeast, Florida and Georgia rank in the top 10 as both saw cases fall last week. Cases also fell in South Carolina and Mississippi but they remain high. Alabama actually saw cases go up last week and ranks near the bottom when compared to the rest of the country. So Florida and Georgia are in good shape.

  • Florida (7)
  • Georgia (9)
  • South Carolina (32)
  • Mississippi (34)
  • Alabama (43)

In the upper Midwest, it is a mixed bag. Only South Dakota and Iowa saw cases fall last week and, in both cases, the decrease was around 1%. Cases were up more than 20% in Nebraska and North Dakota. The high number of cases in North Dakota puts them near the bottom. Can’t yet say peak has been reached although it looks close in Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota.

  • Iowa (13)
  • Minnesota (22)
  • South Dakota (29)
  • Nebraska (33)
  • North Dakota (47)

In this next region, only Louisiana saw cases drop last week and they dropped by almost 30% so Louisiana looks more like Florida and Georgia than the rest of the states in this region. Cases remain high in Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma but only Oklahoma saw a big increase last week with cases up almost 30%. Oklahoma did seem to be a little behind the rest of the states so I would bet they see things slow down this week. Other than Louisiana, we don’t have a clear signal that the peak has been reached.

  • Louisiana (17)
  • Missouri (25)
  • Texas (35)
  • Arkansas (41)
  • Kansas (42)
  • Oklahoma (48)

Out to the Rockies where we still have low case numbers in Montana and Idaho although Idaho saw cases jump by almost 30% last week so it could just be the Omicron wave starting there. Colorado was the only state in this group where cases fell and they were down by almost 30% last week. New Mexico and Wyoming also saw big jumps with cases up by more than 30%. Utah has the highest number of cases in this region and is the second worst state in the country right now.

  • Montana (12)
  • Colorado (15)
  • Idaho (16)
  • New Mexico (39)
  • Wyoming (40)
  • Utah (50)

In this next group, cases were down in California and Nevada but California still has a high number of cases and doesn’t rank high. Arizona and Hawaii saw big increases with cases up 30% in Arizona and 33% in Hawaii. They also rank near the top in terms of the most cases per million in the country. Expect California numbers to improve but we are still not at peak in Arizona or Hawaii.

  • Nevada (20)
  • California (36)
  • Hawaii (44)
  • Arizona (49)

Out to the Pacific Northwest where Alaska comes in at the bottom of the list with a high number of cases and an increase of 26% from last week. Washington was essentially flat while Oregon saw an increase of 7% but both rank in the top half in terms of cases per million. They look to be closer to peak than Alaska.

  • Oregon (24)
  • Washington (30)
  • Alaska (51)

The data from paces where we’ve seen a peak suggest you get a couple of weeks of big increases and then things level off before starting to drop. This wave looks to be shorter than previous waves so I’m guessing we won’t see things continue to increase in a lot of the states this week. If California turns over and things start to drop there, then that will also make the national numbers look much better.

Overall though it is clear we are through the worst of this first Omicron wave.

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