WEDNESDAY, Jan. 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The omicron surge may have peaked in Britain and could be about to do the same in the United States, experts report.

That is because the COVID-19 variant first detected in South Africa in mid-November is so contagious that the variant may already be running out of people to infect, the Associated Press reported. In Britain, government data show that reported new COVID-19 cases fell to about 140,000 a day in the last week compared with more than 200,000 daily cases earlier this month.

Meanwhile, a University of Washington model suggests the number of daily reported cases in the United States will top out at 1.2 million by Jan. 19 and then fall sharply, “simply because everybody who could be infected will be infected,” Ali Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of health metrics sciences at the university, told the AP. “It’s going to come down as fast as it went up,” he added.

Mokdad even suggested that the actual number of daily infections in the United States — which includes people who have never been tested — may have already peaked at 6 million on Jan. 6.

Another team, from the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, predicts that reported cases in the United States will peak within the week, but there “are still a lot of people who will get infected as we descend the slope on the backside,” consortium director Lauren Ancel Meyers, Ph.D., told the AP. “At the end of this wave, far more people will have been infected by some variant of COVID,” Meyers added. “At some point, we’ll be able to draw a line — and omicron may be that point — where we transition from what is a catastrophic global threat to something that’s a much more manageable disease.”

The modeling statistics have raised hopes that the United Kingdom and the United States are about to see what happened in South Africa, where in the span of about a month, the wave crested at record highs and then plummeted, the AP reported.

“We are seeing a definite falling-off of cases in the U.K., but I’d like to see them fall much further before we know if what happened in South Africa will happen here,” Paul Hunter, M.D., a professor of medicine at Britain’s University of East Anglia, told the wire service. “There will probably be some ups and downs along the way, but I would hope that by Easter, we will be out of this.”

Associated Press Article

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