Corona Deaths May Increase in the Next Weeks in the USA

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 99.5 percent of Covid-19 cases in the USA are caused by the Omicron variant.

Although Omicron, which spreads rapidly in the country, causes milder disease in general, the death toll from Covid is increasing day by day. Models reveal that between 50,000 and 300,000 more could die before the Omicron wave subsides in mid-March.

The seven-day average of Covid-19 deaths in the US since mid-November continues to rise. Although this number increased to 1,700 on January 17, it still remains below the peak of 3,300 in January last year. Deaths from Covid-19 in nursing homes for the elderly have been on the rise for the past two weeks, but this number is still 10 times less than in the same period last year, when nursing home residents were not yet vaccinated.

Although Omicron causes mild illness, it is unprecedentedly contagious and spreading rapidly across the country, meaning many weak and vulnerable people will become seriously ill. If the upper limit of the estimates is realized, this may increase the number of life vessels from Covid-19 in the USA to 1 million in the early spring months.

Experts warn: ‘The situation could get worse’

Jason Salemi, an epidemic specialist at the University of South Florida, said that many people will die because Omicron is so contagious, and the situation will worsen.

Kansas state health official Dr. Sanmi Areola stated that the morgues in Johnson County are nearing capacity. More than 30 people died in the county this year, most of them unvaccinated.

However, healthcare professionals generally find it difficult to convey to the public the idea that a less severe variant could cost thousands of lives. It is not easy for healthcare professionals to show that a small percentage of very high infections can lead to too many deaths.

Katriona Shea, one of the experts at Pennsylvania State University who makes pandemic models and shares them with the White House, said, “Although your risk of getting sick personally is very low, you will see that more people around you are sick.”

“Deaths will peak at the end of January-beginning of February”

Deaths in the US will peak in late January or early February, Shea said. By early February, weekly deaths are expected to equal or exceed those of the Delta variant at its peak. It is thought that Covid-19 deaths in January and February may even exceed last year’s peak.

Although an unknown portion of these deaths is thought to be caused by the Delta variant, it is stated that Omicron also threatens lives.

Shea said the approaching wave of casualties was Omicron-driven. The models put together predict that 1.5 million Americans will be hospitalized and 191,000 will die from mid-December to mid-March.

When the uncertainty in the models is taken into account, it is thought that the loss of life in the USA during the Omicron wave may vary between 58 thousand and 305 thousand.

On the other hand, it becomes clearer that Omicron is less risky than previous variants. New data collected from about 70,000 patients in Southern California revealed that Omicron causes milder cases than the Delta variant.

A study published online and featured in one of the White House briefings found that patients with Omicron were 53 percent less likely to be hospitalized for respiratory distress, 74 percent less likely to be admitted to intensive care, and 91 percent less likely to die. The study by Kaiser Permanente and the University of California Berkeley has not yet been approved by the referee board.

Sara Y. Tartof, a Kaiser Permanente researcher, said: “It’s hard for me to say that this is good news. Maybe we can say that there is good news in this, as your rate of being seriously ill decreases if you get sick, but from a social perspective, the burden on us (hospitals) is too much. We should continue the practices that we know protect us,” he said.

Marc Lipsitch, head of the CDC forecasting center at the Harvard TH Chan Institute of Public Health, warned that hospitals with increased burdens will also contribute to the increase in deaths.

Lipsitch said, “The quality of health care decreases in places with very few employees and in hospitals with a surplus of patients. This can cause a higher death rate. However, this is not included in any of the models that I know of,” he said.

Free Covid tests from Biden administration

On the other hand, the website, which was created by the Biden administration to send four free Covid tests to every home, became operational.

The test kits, which will be sent by the US postal service USPS, are expected to be delivered to their addresses within 7 to 12 days.

President Joe Biden promised 1 billion free tests for Americans and stated that more tests could be sent in the near future.

The Biden administration has been criticized for not focusing on testing sooner. Americans had to wait in long test queues during the Christmas holidays due to a shortage of tests.