Do we expect this wave to be different from the last three?

Dr. Bryan Alsip, with University Hospital, answered many questions in a video interview released on January 7th. One of those is a pressing question: Will this wave be different? He also pointed out that while Omicron is less severe for more people, it is still severe for many.
“Every individual has a different response to be infected,” Dr. Alsip said. “Collectively at a population level, we are seeing perhaps a smaller percentage of individuals that are having severe illness as compared to the Delta variant. Any individual patient can get severe disease. In fact we are having–Clearly, people are still being admitted to the hospitals. We know our hospitalizations are going up. Omicron is the dominant, if not the only variant, going around our community, so it’s contributing to increased hospitalizations, and we are still seeing mortalities, so we know Omicron can still cause hospitalizations, severe disease, and death.”
“I don’t know if we can predict, but I think there is certainly a hope that this wave will be different. Some of that is based on the trends coming out of South Africa where this variant was originally identified. They have started to see a rapid decline in the frequency of their cases,” Alsip said. “So if that happened similarly here it would potentially mean we have a surge that’s of shorter duration and perhaps one that comes down fairly quickly. What we don’t know is how high that peak will go and if it will truly be a shorter period.”

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