Omicron Season is Over

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After two years of this, I’m sure people are getting a little tired of the whole COVID thing. The good news is that the collapse of this current variant in the US has continued. There are still some hot pockets in the world but we do seem to be heading towards a COVID free spring. As with all things COVID, that statement comes with the usual caveats because the introduction of something new could cause another wave.

What I do find interesting is the symmetry in the curves. An extremely rapid rise followed by a very rapid decline. That has basically been the pattern everywhere. Kind of like the virus is going to follow some natural progression no matter what steps we silly humans take in thinking we can control it.

Anyway, for the week ending on February 27th, there were 441,843 newly reported cases. (I should also add a caveat since the FDA numbers change on a daily basis so there can be minor changes in the future) That is down 37% from last week and represents the fourth week in a row of big declines and six weeks in a row of declining cases from the peak reached in mid January.

Two other significant notes. This is lowest number of new cases since the week ending on July 25th. In other words, we have now dropped below the temporary low during the first Delta wave. Also, last year at this time, there were 465,419 newly reported cases so we have dropped below last year’s total and that is the first time that has been true since the start of the Omicron wave.

I’m going to skip the rankings and just show the one chart which looks at percentage change vs cases per million. Cases went up in two states last week – Nevada (just barely) and West Virginia. They continued to decline everywhere else.

Looking at the graph, you can pick out the outliers. Maine still stands out with the highest number of cases per million in the country even though they were down more than 70% from last week. Most of the states are clustered in the lower left with Maine, Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Kentucky, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont and Nevada outside the cluster.

Nevada is there because cases were flat for the week. The others are still showing higher than average numbers of cases.

Interesting that we’ve got neighbors in this cluster. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont border each other as do Montana and Idaho and Kentucky and West Virginia. Really continues to show that there are geographic patterns as well as seasonal patterns.

The Kentucky/West Virginia cluster is the most interesting since neighboring states aren’t close. I follow Indiana closer than other states and have seen a clear north to south pattern in cases. The districts in the northern part started to see cases drop first and they are almost back to normal levels. The southern part (which borders Kentucky) has been slower. So maybe Kentucky and West Virginia catch up next week.

But the news continues to be good. The trends continue to show declining case numbers and the Omicron wave continues to recede.

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