The US is avoiding a predicted winter COVID wave
March 13, 2023 — Last year, federal officials warned of a possible wave of COVID-19 this winter. This has never happened, so this is the first epidemic winter without a significant spike.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 and the number of official cases have decreased dramatically compared to the spike seen in the winter of 2021-2022.
Many experts said this wave never appeared because so many Americans were vaccinated, infected, or both. This created a wall of immunity.
While infection rates haven’t skyrocketed this winter, COVID-19 has continued to play a deadly role across America. Weekly deaths it peaked at 4,439 on January 11, compared to a peak of 17,378 in early February 2022. Peak to peak, this is a 75% drop.
Compared to last winter, cases were reported in CDC this winter they are down about 90%. In the week of January 19, 2022, infections peaked at 5.6 million. This winter, the peak of 494,946 cases per week was at the end of December 2022. After a peak at the end of the year, cases fell for a few weeks before rising to 479,604 in early January and have been falling steadily since then. Last week, 170,576 cases were reported.
Comparing data can be a problem because home testing use and reporting varies, said John Brownstein, PhD, a biomedical informatics specialist at Harvard Medical School. ABC News. Declining COVID-19 hospitalizations and death rates continue to point to a less severe season, he said.
However, COVID-19 is not going away. The latest projection models from the University of Washington, analyzing COVID-19 statistics since the start of the outbreak, show steady infection rates and slightly declining death and hospitalization rates throughout the spring.
Globally, the virus is less deadly, but is still projected to be a problem. Between November 2021 and December 2022, the number of infections worldwide doubled compared to the previous year, but the number of deaths was only one-fifth report published last week by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a global health research center at the University of Washington.
“Massive Omicron waves and high vaccination rates together contributed to high levels of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection in many high-income countries,” the authors wrote.
They predicted significant COVID-19 activity outside the United States in the coming year, particularly in China, where many people lack immunity from previous infections and models predict an uncontrolled outbreak.